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Once Taught, Twice Learned

March 16, 2022

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach.”

– No Teacher Ever

I’ve been a teacher, a trainer, a coach. I’ve also been a $500/hour consultant, a published author, president of a startup.

I can do and I can teach. And teaching is way harder.

I was a trainer at Microsoft. I wrote courseware and I also taught. One course I wrote was the most popular Microsoft Exchange course ever written to that point. It was about how to decipher network logs.

When I got the Course Developer job, there were other candidates, of course. One of them assumed I’d gotten the job because I was friends with the hiring manager. Not true. Well, I was friends with the hiring manager, but that’s not why I got the job.

“All Rodney does is stand in front of the room and tell them what’s in the book!”

– My Disgruntled Coworker

My coworker kind of skipped the part where I literally wrote the book. But, writing the book made me really learn the subject. In fact, I worked with a subject matter expert. I went to him a lot. One day I asked him a question. He responded,

“I don’t know. That’s never come up before.”

It was at that point that I knew I had learned enough to write the course. And teaching the course forced me to learn it even better. I not only needed to know what I had prepared, but I had to be able to answer questions.

My brother is a LinkedIn coach. He helps people increase their reach on social media and LinkedIn specifically. I want to increase my reach on social media. My brother offered to share his advice with me for free. (My other brother is an accountant. We all try to help each other.) I started following my brother’s advice.

A typical post I put on LinkedIn would get a a couple dozen views. Last week, based on my brother’s advice I put up a post about how to write foul-mouthed characters when you aren’t someone who swears. The post did better than average. In fact, it did a lot better.

My friend Dave Wolverton was a New York Times bestselling author. And yet, he loved to teach. He started an entire writers group specifically to help new writers. He always seemed to get more enjoyment out of teaching.

And he was a good teacher. He helped train authors that became some of the most famous authors in the world. And he absolutely loved it. And he could teach because he could do.

When cannot teach what you don’t know. And when you teach, you learn things a second time. You learn it better than the first time.

No teacher ever stood up and just read what was in the book.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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