I’m guessing that roughly one in 10 of you wanted to become a teacher “when you grew up.” According to a recent poll by Fatherly, teaching is still the second top profession choice for young girls (behind doctor). My mother, an English teacher at a community college, almost begged me to become a teacher — she was convinced that it was the perfect career choice for me. (She was wrong; I would have made a very poor teacher. Ask my kids.)

Teaching has always been considered the ideal profession for women; steady, well-paying, suited to traits of intelligence, nurturing, and creativity. And I do believe, despite my sad lack of qualifications, that it is indeed the noblest of professions. I eagerly read stories about very successful people who name their second-grade teacher or high school geometry teacher as the person who shaped them for life.

Still, most of you reading this didn’t end up going into teaching as a career. Or did you?

We talk a lot about the importance of educating ourselves and continuing to learn new things. But now I want to acknowledge the incredible collective teaching power that belongs to just about every nail tech in the business. Don’t think you’ve ever taught anyone anything? Think again.

In your career as a nail tech, have you ever:

  • Provided your clients with practical tips on taking care of their new nail extensions so that they won’t lift between services? You just might be a teacher.
  • Submitted one of your step-by-step nail art designs to Nail Art Gallery? You just might be a teacher.
  • Commented on an article or blog post and explained (respectfully) where the errors were and provided a better way to impart the information? You just might be a teacher.
  • Explained the finer points of proper salon sanitation to so many new nail techs you’ve lost count? You just might be a teacher.
  • Helped out at a tradeshow booth and found yourself bombarded with questions about techniques you can practically do in your sleep? You just might be a teacher.
  • Glimpsed the unforgettable look of delighted comprehension on someone’s face after months of frustration and failure — because you, and you alone, showed them how to do something in a way they could understand? You definitely are a teacher.

It’s not so bad, is it? In fact, teaching others how to do something, or how to do it better, is a natural high that becomes irresistible. Next time you have a teaching moment — and you will — be mindful of the effect it has on you. Maybe, just maybe, you wish to prolong the moment into something more substantial — product education, teaching certification classes, or even instructing at a cosmetology school. We should honor the teachers in our midst, like the salon owners patiently showing all of those hungry new nail techs fresh out of school how to uphold the high standards of the nail profession. See some of their clever schoolroom tricks here. Hats off to all of the educators who collectively become the continuing education of the nail industry around the world.

In this great classroom of “the nail industry,” teachers are everywhere and thank goodness for that. Look in the mirror and honor yourself, too.

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