My transition over the past few months from student to professional to teacher has taught me one lesson. I am not going to learn professional skills by reading a book about them. Yes, I can quote Daniel Pink and consider myself a professional on motivating others, but what does that mean if I cannot inspire a team in a real life situation.
If I started talking about political policy I may quote an article I read or a webcast I heard. But, do I know what it feels like to write a policy and have it pass congress? Have I stayed up nights stewing over the intricate eliquency of a good foreign affairs approach?
For example, my understanding of project management has increased dramatically over the past two weeks. Throughout this time I have transformed from a novice project manager into a trainer. As I learned in a recent conference in Kyiv, there are many aspects to project management and many different elements which function together.
And quite honestly, I didn’t fully comprehend project management until I was tasked to teach it. Furthermore, I have been taught that teaching was for those who could not do. However, teaching is the best way to learn.
While I was speaking to a group of university students I found my self subconsciously going through the steps of project management without having to look back at my PowerPoint slides every five second. It was a thrill I hope to harness throughout my life.
As my presentation skills sharpen I am also able to connect with the audience in new ways. Instead of reciting a group of phrase I have begun to formulate my own thoughts, theory and examples of the subject matter. These are skills I could never acquire in 10 years as a student.
I am not trying to diminish the need to learn. I am trying to inspire myself and others to apply their knowledge. The transformation from learning, applying and teaching is a harmonious part if life. I hope that I will never stop this process.
*These are the thoughts of Richard J. Roman and are not a reflection of the Peace Corps or its affiliates.