Many people assume that the most experienced professional is going to provide the best advice for new beginners, but is that really the case? While the experienced professional has exactly that – experience – is that all it takes to relay useful information to readers or novices in that field? Despite popular belief that this is how information is passed on, I like to think that it takes more than experience to provide helpful information. In fact, they may be the least qualified person to teach others to do that which they know like the back of their hand.
Why Experienced, Smart People Aren’t Necessarily Great Teachers
I have been a student for a long time. I am closing in on 7 years of higher education after high school. In many ways, I could be a medical doctor with this much education. While I don’t have a medical degree, I do have plenty of experience with bad teachers. When I say bad teachers, I’m not talking about the high school football coach teachers, who are probably employed to give the school a fighting chance at a state title.
I am talking about professional students. People who have studied this material for years, if not decades. They are aware of almost every scholarly conversation about the topic. Yet, they lack one important quality – the ability to teach. That’s right – I said it. While I may be drifting from my focus a little, I believe the entire school system is skewed because it employs people who know the material without the ability to teach. To put it simply, knowledge of the material does not equate to the best teacher.
A Better Teacher?
I have recently started an investing series on 20’s Finances. It is my main blog and where I focus a lot of my creative energy. Yet, one area that I have often avoided like the plague is investing. As I admitted, it is because I don’t know that much about investing. I felt unqualified to post anything about investing, let alone to teach others to do the same thing.
Yet, I recently started researching investing more thoroughly. I have spent many waking hours reading up on the different approaches to investing, how and when to do it, etc. Anything and everything I can get my hands on. I’ve reviewed a handful of different authors and even more published books. While I’m still far from being an expert, it has generated a lot of new content for my series. I struggled at first because I thought I had to be someone else. I thought I had to portray a sense of confidence – that I had to know what I was talking about. Ultimately, I decided that being honest about my lack of complete understanding was the best approach.
Since I am a new investor, I know what it’s like to not know anything about the stock market. I know the questions that new investors have, that many experienced investors often take for granted. This works well with the niche of 20’s Finances as it is geared at teaching young adults how to manage their finances. More importantly, I think it works well because of my lack of experience. This may be counter-intuitive, but in many ways, someone experiencing or learning it now is the better teacher.
Have you ever started a job where you were forced to train yourself because the managers had been there so long that they forgot what they should teach you? I know that I have! While one may think that the best teacher is the most knowledgeable on the subject, sometimes the best teacher is the one who admits what he/she doesn’t know and what they are going through.
Readers, what do you think? Who makes the better teacher?