But, he added, he was just at the doctor's, who explained a medical procedure to him in simple easy-to-understand language. That's learning. My friend may be a lawyer, but there he was, both teacher and student on the same day.
And it isn't just those with professional degrees. At the supermarket an item wasn't scanning at the price the store app on my phone said it should. The checkout clerk taught me how to use the app. I felt like the students in computer class at school.
There is something beautiful in this fundamental truth - going through life, each of us a student and each of us a teacher, each a giver, each a receiver, in turn. Every one of us knows something we can teach to someone else. And every one of has something to learn that someone else can teach us, whether it's math, reading, or a grocery app. Teaching - sharing knowledge - is an act of incredible power and generosity. Some of the most profound things I've learned have been taught to me by students with disabilities, or people I've met who had no formal education at all.
The school year is over, but even if you graduated years ago, attendance in the school of life is mandatory. And, this school will give you some tests you weren't prepared for.
So, though I'm proud to say I'm a teacher, everyone can say it, including you. And we are all students, too, all of our lives. Until - yes, just like in school - all of us eventually will pass.
With a Perspective, I'm Richard Swerdlow.
Richard Swerdlow teaches in the San Francisco Unified School District.