There was a time I taught my very first IT lesson you know.

It was a long time before I had set up my own training company and was delivering Cisco courses to blue chip companies all over the UK.

I volunteered to teach e-mail sending to novice users at work. It was pretty easy and was another string to my bow.

It was fun, easy and  had another advantage which was to come in very useful later on.

I’m talking about vital experience and skills to add to your resume.

For some reason, people seem to think you are good at something because you have taught it. As we all know though, there are good and bad teachers out there. But that isn’t the point here.

If you want to dramatically increase your credibility with a certain technology then teach it. See if you can get paid to teach at your local college or even find a training company who could use your skills and teach for them. It can be part time, evenings or even full time.

The very first Cisco course I taught was at a training centre where I learned PC assembly. I had passed my Cisco CCNA exam and e-mailed the owner suggesting he advertised a course and I taught it. That five day course made me more money than I earned in a month at my regular job!

Bear in mind that most Cisco Academy instructors haven’t even passed their CCNA yet!

Go for it.

Paul Browning

18 Responses to “Teach”

  1. From my experience, the best way to really master something is by teaching it. You have to work out all the things that are unclear to you in order to get someone else to understand it. Your level of mastery will be much higher if you can explain what you know to someone else.

  2. Teachers are perceived as experts in their field for good reason. It takes skill to be able to teach, as well as knowledge and patience. I come from a family of teachers and I have a great deal of respect for what they do. I think being able to put teaching experience on your resume is a very good idea. It makes me think of maturity and mastery.

  3. Most people really do respect teachers. Being a teacher is a very good way to let other people know that you are an expert at something without having to tell them you are.

  4. Thats a great point Paul. There is a Maths and Computing college across the road where I live, literally, I can cross the road and it’s there. I thought about it (and did nothing) – now there is nothing stopping me doing that, maybe chat to the local ICT guy there and take it from there.

    Don’t be afraid, the worst that can be said is no (And that is their loss, not yours) – there will always be another opportunity around the corner, don’t look back in regret of what could have been, look forward in excitement at what will be 🙂

    Chris P

  5. Great story about how you got your first job teaching. I wish I could think of things like that!

  6. Volunteering is a great way to break into the teaching world. It worked for me, too. I got some experience, helped some people out, and then had something to put on my resume. Win-win all around.

  7. I love teaching. I find it very rewarding, and you are right, it has definitely enhanced my credentials in the business world.

  8. I always find that if I teach something once, my understanding of the subject increases ten fold. I really should get involved with freelance teaching as it is apparently quite lucrative!!

  9. I find that learning from someone who has industry experience rather than from a pure academic is much more rewarding. The best teachers have the most hands on experience

  10. I agree with Paul – there are good teachers and there is crap. Some of the people I have worked with over the years (I have been teaching for years) I would not employ! It was only this morning that I was discussing which of my colleagues I would employ – 2 out of the 12 max.

    Just because someone is an “expert” at something does not mean they can teach it. I remember when i was doing my degree we had research assistant take the analysis techniques (maths) class. She knew what she was talking about but couldn’t “teach” it to save her life.

    I also agree with Roberto – it is better to learn from someone who is doing it/has done it rather than some academic. Another example, the first question i asked my Business Skills tutor was whether he had ever run his own business – No. How could he teach me anything? From books!

    i don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I know i can get the best from my students. And the reason I am doing the CCNP and want to get into Contracting is to give me enough credibility & real-world skills to teach the bloody thing one day in the not too distant future.

  11. I have always thought that if you want to truly test your knowledge for a specific skill you should teach it. I have found that teaching always helps you in knowing where your weak points are in a skill. You can then go on and eventually master your area of expertise. Also, no one can deny that teaching anything looks great on a resume.

    • So true Chris. The preparation you do to teach a class also helps increase your own knowledge. And the questions people ask in a class or workshop often surprise you and keep you on your toes, which causes you to learn more and understand more.

  12. One of the methods to which you can find out if you have understood something completely is if you can teach it to another human without difficulty. The human might be slow in comprehension, that is subjective. but if you delivered it with ease then that means you have understood the material. Keep it up!

  13. Teaching is a great way to recover your investment on what you have learned. I think it is such a great joy to teach. I find it very heartwarming whenever a student learns something new and solves a difficult problem.

  14. I certainly find teaching the easiest job in the world. No doubt about it, when you love your work your work seems more enjoyable. Just like all things it has ups and downs, But i bet the ups dominate if not dwarf the downs.

  15. I used to be good in mathematics, so I tutored some neighbors. just like that I doubled my allowance and money. it wasn’t long before I found out that the more I taught the subject I could now absorb new lessons right away even the difficult one’s.

  16. Crispy’s comment above is one to remember. “Don’t be afraid all they can say is no”. Taking the step to write up a proposal or to ask someone if they’d consider your teaching something for their business or whatever … all they can say is no, but if you have a good proposal they might say yes. Not only that, but if they say no, you can re-tool your proposal and perhaps have better luck with it on the next try.

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