Teach more - lecture less

Recently I had the great pleasure of teaching and lecturing to QA students.
It was an amazing chance to challenge myself, learn about myself and get a positive sense of meaningful activity.

The First few minutes
I have to admit that teaching is harder than it seems. It has its fair share of challenges that I will try to cover in this article, and it all starts with the first minute you enter the classroom.
“There is no second chance to make a first impression” applies here because as you enter the room, the first few minutes are critical for the student’s perception of you.
Imagine, you enter a room with 20-30 strangers, they are staring at you and examining you. They try to understand, do they like you? Can they connect with you? Are you clear and accessible to them? At this point, it is best to just take a deep breath, smile and start talking to break the ice.

The great challenge of capturing their attention
Keeping 20 young students focused on you and attentive to your idea for 6 hours is a true challenge. I have noticed that when you are “just lecturing” in a form of a monologue about a technical or methodological theme, fast enough you will see the back row in their cell phones, and in a short while the others will lose focus too. I resolved this issue by letting the students actively participate in the lecture. I incorporate humor in my lectures to break the ice and make it more “easy going” for the students. I try to keep their attention on me by using real-life creative examples so that the topic will be more accessible to them. I think the general idea is that it’s supposed to be clear and fun.

Learn for the right reason
Years ago, I wanted to make a career change. I came to my sister which was a QA TL in her past for advice. She sat down with me in front of a computer, opened up something that looked like a complex application at the time, and started questioning me about what i would test in every feature on the screen. That was the moment i realized that I LOVE IT!
As someone who consciously chose this profession out of true passion for testing because of the nature of the occupation, I always try to understand other people's motives.
I always start my lectures with a short introduction session. I tell the students who i am and about my experience, and then I ask them to introduce themselves and tell me why are they here? Why QA? What has drawn them to learn this profession?
Sadly, often enough the answers range between “I don’t know” to “I just wanted to work in the high-tech industry”. I appreciate their honesty and I would rather hear the truth rather than a motivational lie. With that said, I think that by having that indication of who is sitting in front of me and his/her motives, I can adopt an approach. Should I try to motivate them and show them why this field is awesome? Or maybe give them tools because they are already motivated enough? Maybe I should just leave them be and not interrupt their Facebook chat? Because I strongly believe that you cannot teach someone that does not want to learn.

I’m trying to make them see through my eyes and understand why I love what I do
I truly love what I do and the added value that I’m trying to give my students it to show them why. The great privileges we have as testers like using our creative minds, to take responsibility, to imagine, to tackle, to question, to do something meaningful, to make quality an everyday issue, to use critical thinking, to learn to explore, to get to know technology from the inside. I always tell my students that one of my biggest motivations is learning new things, the course is just the beginning and in this field of work - you learn every day.

I think that it is truly an honor to be able to give others the most valuable gift of all - knowledge! and when it is absorbed by someone that truly wants and needs it - the feeling is truly fantastic.


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