Let me channel Seneca the Younger for a minute and say that docendo discimus: the most thorough way to learn something is through teaching it.
Librarians tend to live by this principle instinctively. I can’t count the number of times I’ve crammed on a software tutorial right before teaching a workshop on it. My current goal is to do this docendo discimus thing more formally and consciously.
Continuing Education for Librarians, a collection of reports from librarians about how they pursue professional development, includes a section about learning by teaching [full disclosure: I have a chapter in this book]. Celia Ross’s chapter on “Professional Development Through Teaching” provides a framework for thinking through opportunities for teaching:
- Why should I teach?
- What could I teach?
- Whom could I teach and where could I teach them?
Here’s my current thoughts on these questions:
Why should I teach:
Hmm, slam dunk on this one: to learn something more deeply. There’s also the benefit of smartening up the old CV and the dazzling prospect of additional income.
What could I teach:
My specialization is in access services librarianship, which is enjoying a renaissance within the academic library community. I’d love to share my experiences in the user services side of librarianship.
Whom could I teach and where could I teach them:
I’m still working on this one. I’ve framed out a syllabus for a graduate class on access services, and am slowly working on pitching it to a graduate program.
What about you? What could you teach?