When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear

March 28, 2023 by Davorka Sladojević

I feel free to say that the CEF event “Train the Trainers – Knowledge Sharing and Presentation Skills“ has changed the course of my life. Do you remember an old saying: when the student is ready, the teacher will appear? Well, this is exactly what happened to me. I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. And I strongly believe that we are always in the right place at the right time. Everything happens for a reason. Before even finding out that we should prepare a presentation for the purpose of practice at the CEF training course, I had already drafted mine, which was waiting in the dark. But it was never the right moment to put it in the light, I just could not conquer my fear. On one hand, I had a strong desire to share it; on the other hand, I was not brave enough to deliver it. Deep within, I knew that teaching is my passion but I was afraid of public speaking. The events I attended before would wake up my desire but I couldn’t pick up courage. I thought I was not good enough. Fear did not allow me to express myself to the fullest.

Breaking the ice

I was afraid of how it was going to look like, and told Tamara (the event coordinator) that I have an issue with public speaking. She was so nice and comforting. It was the first sign that gave me hope, so instead of being anxious, I started to feel exited. It was not my first workshop on this subject but definitely the first one where I felt safe. For the first time, I felt I can trust my teachers and the audience enough to open myself up. Trainers Ana and Tina were very friendly and encouraging. Every detail, every minute of the training was wisely invested. It is hard to imagine that a two-day workshop could have such a huge impact on me. I have never been in such a safe environment before. They just knew how to prepare us, so that we’d all feel like a family. When they had made sure we feel safe enough, they put us in the spotlight, and that is exactly what I needed.

First, we sat together with them in a circle, so that energy could flow without obstacles, and that was when the magic began. They led us smoothly through the training and without even realizing, I was in the limelight. I was pushed out of my public speaking comfort zone and it felt okay. It felt cozy and safe. I was exposed to criticism and it didn’t hurt at all. The moment I reached the audience, I sensed myself filling with powerful energy that rushed through every molecule of my being. I felt we are all one, united in the message I was trying to deliver. The ice was broken for good and suddenly everything seemed so easy.

It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light

I just couldn’t believe they did it with such ease, and that is exactly what makes them great teachers. The trainers equipped me in an unselfish manner with everything I need to master delivering presentations: from confidence to all kinds of tips and tricks, and technical tools. They made me realize how important it is to use proper body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, and to have a good story and a message at the end.

But it’s not as simple as it looks. To be a great teacher, you should put yourself in the learner’s shoes, and you have to invest three times more effort in preparation than in delivering the training. Training is just a final product; behind that lies comprehensive preparation, taking care of every detail from content, style, tools and body language to technical details to prevent something going wrong. Because every single mistake makes the audience lose attention.


The good news is that even if you are not born a presenter, you can become a great one. But to evolve from a caterpillar to a butterfly, you should make a lot of effort in the dark, breaking your limits. We can’t wait to be perfect to do it. Even though we are all different, I think anybody could benefit from this event. Those of us who are at the beginning of a learning process are encouraged to intensify learning and step out of the comfort zone, while those more experienced are inspired to rethink their way, put more life and energy in trainings, and use some new modern tools.

Switching roles from teacher to audience was a great idea because it helped me realize many things:

  • Listening is also a skill.
  • No one is perfect and we should not compare ourselves to the others.
  • It is easy to judge.
  • We are humans, and humans make mistakes.
  • It is okay to make mistakes while learning. Learning is a lifelong journey, so we have to make it easy and fun. Otherwise, it is a waste of life.
  • Learning doesn’t have to be hard. But it is important to have great teachers along to guide us, so that we can continue to grow.

My message to the readers is that whenever you desire to do something, just make up your mind to do it and help is already on the way. You cannot fail; failure is just life trying to move us in the right direction. Mistakes are there to teach us. If we want to reach our full potential, we must do what makes our heart sing. Otherwise, all the gifts inside us, our unique ideas, will stay trapped. You owe it to the world, so get out of the box and share your ideas.

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