Teach and Learn More


Ha, do you remember of the time when you are not sure about something on the new system or studies and having no choice, you turn to your colleagues or friends for help?

At this juncture, you will likely to meet 3 types of people1. One who sits down and patiently explains from the basics to the details of the subject matter or 2. One who sits down to explain but does not have the time or the need to explain everything. They will teach little bit of something and leave the juicy part out (and expects you to look for it yourself) or 3. One who does not have any time for you – their standard answer is “I don’t know” and walks away (but will be the first in line when you are teaching others something).

Even in my current work place, I still meet the 3 types of people and in turn have acted, (I must stress here) depending on the situation, all 3 types of response to my colleagues in need. When I was talking to one of colleague on the other day on training, he mentioned that when you teach someone, you will learn faster. He said we should not think in a negative way or be stingy when it comes to teaching someone. He said he learned a lot by teaching others.

That statement made me realised that it was true that teaching makes you learn faster. After all, that’s how I managed to graduate Law with honors whilst learning it part time.

In the second year of my law studies, my dad could not afford to finance my studies, so I went to work as a clerk in a bank. It was a full time “6 days a week” job and often I finish work late. So, to continue with my studies, I opted for classes for the part time students. It was a bit odd to be in the class, being a young kid surrounded by 40 year old uncles and aunties but in the end, it was fun. I eventually befriended 3 “seniors” in the class – one was a businessman (who often misses out on the class because of his business), an accountant and another was a senior banker. As all of us are working full time, it was agreed that we should form a study group – that way each of us would have enough time to learn a topic in detail and then complement each other on the remaining topics.

This is where I learned my lessons well…

I soon realised that I was doing all the “teaching” and “explaining” to the study group. The rest of the seniors just could not have the time to read whilst at home because they will do their work at home too. Being a clerk at that time, I had the flexibility of having enough time at home to study and go to the library whenever I finished work late.

I felt pity on my senior friends who was struggling with their studies due to the overload & interference of their daily work. So, what I did was to do extra charts, short notes and research to be shared with them. In return, I realised that I was beginning to learn more and more as time passes by. It felt good when I was able to explain to difficult questions raised by my friends and it was even better when I was able to explain in ways that they understood and remembered.

The appreciation that I got from the seniors was 1. a good lunch whenever we had classes on Sat & Sun and 2. able to learn their experiences in the real work (it’s interesting to know what a businessman and a father of 3 children had to do to keep life going). Experiences of which become useful when I was moving up in my own career path.

In the end, we all managed to pass our exams with honors and the seniors were so happy with me that they took me for a grand dinner to show their appreciation. It was a small thing for me because by teaching them, I actually got better at the subject and was able to do better in the exams.

So, the next time someone asked you to teach them something, remember you will learn more by teaching

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