One of the best ways to learn something new is by apprenticeship. Find someone who is really good at the exact thing you want to do and convince them to teach you (or at least let you ghost them) for a period of time. I’m convinced that this is a good way to learn a great many things. Some of the best things I’ve learned in my life have come outside of the classroom at the hands of experts. I learned some of the basics of graphic design by convincing a graphic designer to teach me some of the tools, allow me to ask a question or two, and give meaningful critiques of my work. I’ve been doing graphic design for a number of years now. All I needed was a little apprenticeship.
This semester I’ve been given the great opportunity to work under one of my professors in a class that he has taught for a number of years. He’s allowed me to comment and alter the course in some key ways. An additional major benefit, for me, is the ability to watch my teacher teach. I’ve already taken the course that is being taught, and I’m not a student in it, so I’m able to focus my attention on the entire arch of the course itself. In short, I’m an apprentice teacher. While I’ve taught many different courses during graduate school, I haven’t taught this one. This is just another way I’m able to learn. Apprenticeship is wonderful. The final piece of advice is this: be an apprentice. You can avoid many pitfalls if you learn and listen intently to those who may have fallen in those pits before or found new ones to avoid. Their expertise is always helpful.