Hands raised in an auditorium setting with dramatic light. Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Why we need more beginners teaching

Beginners teaching will create more empathy, combat Imposter Syndrome, and diversify industry voices

Beginners! I’d love to see more of you *teach.* You have tremendous value to offer. In our industry, we uphold and revere experts. I get it. Experts do sexy slick things in time lapses, have nice camera equipment, and great hair days.

  1. Beginners acutely feel the struggles of other beginners: confused with the onslaught of tools, terminology, and where to begin. The initial hurdle is the hardest. It’s the place where quitting seems most appealing because there’s an endless supply of things to learn.
  2. Beginners want to see other beginners. Representation is a very important aspect of what we do: People get intimidated when they only see experts teaching high-level things. Seeing another beginner make mistakes on “basic things” then recover is very encouraging!
  3. More beginners teaching will also show more beginner work! It’s unrealistic to expect that your first will be on par with a practised expert whose done hundreds. That’s okay! Share your “uglies,” as they’re probably not as bad as you think and are an impt part of the process!
  4. More beginners will mean more forgiveness for *mistakes.* Our society is so fearful of mistakes and the gaslighting. Totally get it. Mistakes are icky. Peeps are dix. But mistakes are a *necessary* part of growth. So make ‘em! Share what you *learned* from them! Fuck haters!
  5. Internalising how to teach helps you organise how to learn: Where to start, where to focus, basic terms, anticipating your students’ questions. For my Skillshare class, I knew I had to narrow the scope of all #a11y down to something compact enough to digest.
  6. More beginner teachers means more people doing things they love, even if they’re kinda bad at it at first. For me, it’s drawing. My talented friends have been drawing since the womb. I’m old AF now. I have no time! So many of the hands I draw are uggo. WHO CARES. I HAD FUN!!!
  7. Diversifying the levels will keep experts grounded and aware of newbie hurdles. Experts become super users of languages and tools; hearing beginner teachers will help to remind them of the initial struggles and help to cater their future, more advanced tutorials accordingly.
  8. More beginners means more humility! We hide a lot of the “sausage making” from our peers, clients, the non-design world. But what if we were more okay accepting imperfect, in-progress, new things? Perhaps imposter syndrome would be less pervasive and there’d be less shame.
  9. Most importantly, more beginners will inherently diversify and amplify a broader group of voices who haven’t been “at the table” and advanced to experts — WoC, trans, disabled folks. Ignored and repressed voices.

Insatiably curious art director/designer who believes in working smarter and harder. Digital nomad.

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