Why do you teach? That’s the question I got from one of my students. It was sudden and honest. I was a little surprised by it, and it also made me think. Yeah, why teach, when you don’t have to? Can I list the benefits of it? Or is it more of a self-amusement? A quick background for my first article 🎉.
No, I’m not a teacher by profession. Working as a software developer for the last few years I have experienced how easy it is to become too comfortable with the knowledge you already have. We tend to know and do just enough to get the job done. But that kind of mindset won’t prepare you for future challenges. If you don’t feel the need to learn, you won’t. And that’s where teaching comes into play. Here are 3 surprising reasons how teaching will benefit you.
1. Deeper knowledge
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” (Albert Einstein)
Many times in my life teaching an idea made me understand it even better. You see, it’s very easy to explain in a complicated way, but hard in a simple way. Just remember how many times have you read an article with unnecessarily complex writing. It gave you a hard time even paying attention to its content.
The key to effective communication lies in making it as simple as possible. You need to ask yourself: “How can I make the message more simple, but not lose its core value?”. To do this, you need to understand the essence of an idea. As an effective teacher, you should extract useful knowledge. That means you’ll become an active consumer of information yourself.
2. Communication skills
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” (Lee Iacocca)
I’m an introvert by nature. Regularly presenting to others made this activity my second nature. In sharing knowledge you need to present ideas to your listeners. Either you’re doing a virtual presentation, or explaining without any props, teaching will push you beyond your social comfort zone.
By listening to feedback, you will start to learn how to present ideaseffectivelythrough your body gesture, intonation, word selection. You’ll get used to people paying attention to you. This helped me immensely in my career as well.
A recent survey of nearly 1,000 employers who recruit in technical fields concluded 5 top-rated skills they are looking for. Four of those fall within the communications category:
- verbal communications
- listening skills
- written communication
- presentation skills
Teaching improves all of these skills. People who can effectively share knowledge are a very valuable workforce.
3. Good feeling
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” (John Holmes)
After helping my students with a programming project, they showed their gratitude by giving me a thoughtful gift. Although the gift itself rather symbolic, the feeling it provided was gratifying.
By sharing knowledge, you contribute to the well-being of others. If it’s in my power to help people better themselves and being successful, I will help them with their goals. Seeing people improve is a great feeling. Knowing that you’ve helped them become a better person is a whole different category of happy.
Teaching has many benefits. It deepens your knowledge, improves your communication skills, makes you happier. May it be teaching just one person or a whole classroom.