Teaching is hard
I think the funniest moment over the past few days has been when Rob wanted me to explain something from the book he was reading. There was an example about closures that had the following piece of code ( might not be exact but close enough ):
var i = 20;
console.log( i.toString( 16 ) );
At first Rob asked me what the arguments were that toString took. Without even thinking I’m pretty sure I blurted out “none” and didn’t think anything of it. “But it’s in the book, look”, I didn’t believe him at first, so I had to see for myself. I ended up looking at it dumbfounded for a while trying to figure out what was going on. My response was “Well, let’s see what it does” which I don’t know if I looked dumb for not knowing that toString took an aruguement or not, but regardless this was an opportunity for both of us to learn something together. I busted open my console and began playing with it and we soon realized that if a number was passed into toString it would convert the value to a base-X value. This meant passing in 16 for our value of 20 returned 14, and passing in 2 gave us 10100. It just goes to show that there is always an opportunity to learn something new and I think teaching is a perfect example of this.
Being forced to explain your ideas in more depth than normal can be really difficult and truly is an art. I did my best over the past week to help Rob and I hope some of what I was saying was useful. Teaching someone is really hard and we should appreciate the teachers that we’ve had that we’re good at explaining concepts and helping us ( everything always seems easy until you try and do it ). This was a great experience for me and I learned a lot about how do communicate more effectively and realized I’ve got some brushing up to do myself. Even tho I use most of these concepts daily, it was hard for me to explain things at times and teaching really forces you to know your content inside and out, as you will always get questions that you weren’t expecting. Being able to teach is an art that we all tend to take for granted and until you try and do it, never fully appreciate how hard, draining, and complicated it can be.