“Why do I teach?”

“Why do I teach?”

The best way to understand something well is to try and explain it to someone else. It is one of the rules the characters of my today's article follow. This post is focused on many IT experts' "second profession" - teaching.  We collected the stories of three AB soft employees, where they answered the question, "Why do I teach?". They outline their motives to give lectures and share their knowledge with experienced and novice IT specialists:

Nikolay Gromov, FrontEnd Developer

Nikolay Gromov, FrontEnd Developer at AB Soft

He teaches the course on FrontEnd both for beginners and experienced specialists at the computer school "Hillel''.

I have been having thoughts about teaching for a while. Even before I was programming, I was going to give lectures. But the classes somehow come around themselves. At some point, I started receiving offers to teach. I accepted the second one from the Hillel school, and we started our cooperation.

My first lecture at Hillel was on FrontEnd Basic. The group comprised 12 students. Many were over 30. One of them was a bold biker. It was my first public speaking experience after a long gap. I was nervous for about 15 minutes. :)

I also taught the course on Front-End Pro (JavaScript), carried out master classes on Vue and React, presented Front-End Basic (HTML, CSS) for AB Soft staff - the company where I work.

My most significant fear was not the stage or public speaking. I was concerned my students won't comprehend something. I believe any teacher's essential task is to deliver the material clearly and understandably, or why teaching at all?

I have to repeat some points dozens of times, and by the end of the course, everyone can repeat them back to me.

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough", Richard Feynman famously said, and I can't agree with him more. I can explain complex things (or at least, I want to believe so). When someone has read many articles, looked hours of videos but eventually grasps an issue thanks to your lecture, it is the most valuable result. It means you managed to create knowledge in someone else’s mind.

Teaching is investing in yourself.  I got a new perspective of many topics I studied while preparing for the lectures. And not a few questions my students asked me were puzzling. Nobody knows everything, and there is nothing to be ashamed of, even if you are an instructor.

The lectures in the classical format have long been obsolete: at school, university, in everyday life. After earning one degree and almost completing the second one, I can speak about it with confidence. I stand for a practical approach. So, I write code during our lectures rather than present ready-made templates. You can read a load of books on driving, but you can only realize how to drive when you're behind the wheel.

My message to someone who can’t bring themselves to give lectures: don’t be afraid of making mistakes and don’t try to hide the lack of knowledge. Have faith in yourself, and your audience will have faith in you.

Daria Ilina, TeamLead recruiter

Daria Ilina, TeamLead recruiter, AB Soft

She teaches a recruitment course at the IT school.

My first lecture was on Recruitment and HR in IT. I spoke about growth and development opportunities in IT recruitment and the specialization of HR and recruitment specialists at the IT school in Odessa.

What are the benefits of teaching? When you are getting ready to present the material, you surf through many articles, analytics, and statistics. And you never fail to find something new.  When you get feedback during the lectures, you can hear about things from an outside point of view. It helps to keep up with the time and refresh your ideas about many aspects.

I am not particularly concerned that I won't answer the audience's questions - you can't be ready for all of them or predict them. My greatest fear is when my students don’t understand my jokes. It is the time for self-chastise.

One head is good, but 16 is much better. So my lectures comprise discussion and dialogue rather than boring narration.

I love watching people get smarter. With each lecture, you cover the gaps between the information they already know and something you present. They start grasping how it works, how to behave in different situations, and how to find the way out of it.

To emphasize students' progress, I give similar tasks at the beginning and the end of the course and then compare results. Trust me - they are worlds apart.

My take-home message to those who decided to teach: humour is the way out of any situation. You can forgive someone for a mistake but not for the lack of sense of humour.

Aleksandr Golubishko, QA specialist

Aleksandr Golubishko, QA specialist at AB Soft

He teaches QA at the IT school.

I started giving lectures for my personal development. If you are going to teach someone, you have to be really good at the subject. Besides, learning something new means keeping your knowledge up.

My first ever lecture was for a Manual QA course and was relatively standard. I spoke about who QA was and what their role was in software development. I remember it very clearly: there were 15 people in the class. It may seem like a small audience, but it looked huge to me back then.

Everyone, who speaks before the audience for the first time, is anxious. Primarily about being asked a question you don't know the answer to. I used to have this fear during my first 5 or 6 lectures. It’s not easy to overcome it. But with the course of time and experience, it vanishes.

Teaching is a great way to power-level yourself as a specialist. When you are getting ready for your first lectures, you study the topic to the tiniest detail. It quite often opens your eyes to something you overlooked or didn't understand before. What is more, you learn something new when interacting with the students. Teaching is a level-up for any professional.

The essential goal of all tests and quizzes during the lesson is to make sure the students comprehend the material well enough or need more time to process it. For this purpose, I use banal methods - regular recitations that clearly picture how many students grasped the material. We also have intermediate tests.

What excites me most about the lecturer's role is - simple as it may sound - sharing my knowledge and experience and realizing that the information delivered to my students' minds can influence their future. It is fascinating when your students get their first job in IT and share the news with you. :)