The Importance of Teaching

One of my favorite things to do is to give away all that I know to anyone that will listen.

Re-read that sentence.

In what industry or profession is that true? What other profession approaches beginners with open arms? What other industry holds meetings just to inspire others into learning what they know with no monetary reward expected?

I make it a point to regularly take time out to teach others around me if they are willing to learn. I (and many, many others) do this as a form of paying forward from those that taught us.

Teaching is a true form of altruism. No one is a teacher for the money. No teacher is glorified nor will ever have a Nike endorsement.

What we get is satisfaction of every now and then seeing the spark ignite in a student’s eyes. It’s being the catalyst for that moment of a concept clicking in another’s mind and being able to relive that moment for yourself. It’s much like the saying that when you have a child, you yourself get to play again.

Recently I was showing a beginner the very basics of the Rails framework. He took great notes and asked questions every single step of the way. After two hours of this back and forth he literally raised his hands in the air and proclaimed that he had “wasted so much time” doing things the hard way with another language.

I myself sat in his place back in 2007 when I began to learn the Rails framework and I said exactly the same thing. That epiphany has led me and my career where it is today.

The greatest satisfaction is knowing that that student will grow and one day pay forward the inspiration that I fostered to another person.

Get out of your office. Pay back those who helped you learn by giving to those around you. This is the stuff that builds civilizations.

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