General Assembly (Case Study)

Growing By Teaching

Overview

A story of massive personal growth.

I taught the 10-week UX design immersive at General Assembly, three times in a row. It was totally different from anything I had ever done before and prepared me for leadership roles in the future.

My Role

  • Presentation Design, Research and Preparation
  • Three two-hour lectures per week, in front of 25-50 people
  • Group Facilitation
  • Giving & receiving feedback

Outcome:

1 +
Students Taught In one year and 3 bootcamps
1 %
Got a job within 4 weeks of graduating
1 %
Got a job within 8 weeks of graduating

Biggest Learnings:

Presentation skills

I was nervous the first few times I gave lectures. I bombed in at least two lectures early on. But now I really enjoy it and am very good at it. I got so good at it, that my interaction design lecture’s overwhelmingly positive response from students led to me teaching a video class at CreativeLIVE.com on the fundamentals of interaction design. I designed all my lectures from scratch because I wasn’t able to teach the way I want to from the standard GA materials.

Communication

I was pretty bad at giving feedback and answering questions when I first started. I talked too fast and my answers lacked specificity. I got much better at communicating as I continued to teach, and started to understand the real value of good communication (it’s one of the most important things).

I dropped the perfectionism

I learned to be more honest and vulnerable rather than trying to hide behind the “Mr Perfect” facade I had built up. Giving more of myself led to me connecting more with my students. With every new cohort I taught, I became a little more open.

I learned how to assemble teams

Most of the work at GA is project based collaborations in teams. I assembled those teams. Man, that was so fun! My co-instructor and I put the names of the students on post it notes, and decided which ones would fit together, and on which project — based on how we assess their skills, personalities, and what we knew about their goals and hobbies.

I became a nicer person

Before teaching, I had spent the last 8 years mostly sitting in front of a computer screen, making things. It had made me arrogant and disconnected from the people around me. Teaching taught me greater empathy and kindness and continues to do so.

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