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Am I qualified to teach anything?

Probably not, but I’m going to anyways. Brace for impact

November 20, 2021

I’m not going to lie, explaining my science fair project to others has been an incredibly difficult task for me. Hell, explaining anything complicated is a hard task for most people.

For those of you who don’t know, two of my friends and I decided to participate in the science fair at the start of 2021. If you want to read more about the project, I recommend reading my previous post, but here’s a short summary.

The idea started as all ideas do, with an insane deadline and too little time. In less than 48 hours we had to decide on our project idea: a wearable concept device, one that can assist hard of hearing individuals navigating their environment.

From my experience giving this short pitch countless times, I’ve noticed that most people find the idea intriguing but immediately become intimidated once I start explaining the details. Their eyes gloss over and any hope of conveying anything useful or interesting is lost. It makes me so sad because the interesting stuff doesn’t necessarily come from what something does, but asking how the hell someone managed to make it work.

I must be missing some key ingredient when it comes to explaining things. What am I doing wrong? I have no idea.

So what is this upcoming series really about?

Before explaining my plan for this series of upcoming posts, I want to take a moment and describe the backstory behind all this.

For the longest time, I’ve been in awe of STEM content creators’ teaching abilities. They seem to have the gift of explaining concepts that are normally boring and complicated in entertaining and easy to understand ways, essentially infotainment but better. I swear these people could make a video on the most mundane thing, like hammers, and I think that they would have a solid chance of not only teaching something people didn’t know before but make the most interesting and comprehensive video on hammers the world has ever seen.

My digression above sort of gives away why I admire those people so much. They can show how beautiful, yet perplexing, the world we live in is. These people might not teach the raw science or math very often, but they teach people, no, not teach. They inspire people to be curious, to be in awe, and explore the world around them. It’s not about trying to reach an end goal of “understanding the world”, it’s more about satisfying some kind of innate curiosity in each and every one of us, and I think that’s something pure, something good.

I really enjoy teaching people things because, as obvious as this sounds, I know what it’s like to be on the other side. To have things “explained” to me and taken for granted. I want to teach things in the way I wish I had been taught, with more curiosity and less esoteric knowledge, so that I can hopefully share with others the same joy I get from learning and making things.

One time I was eating lunch with a friend of a friend and what she said really stuck with me for some reason. It’s one of those things that sounded way better in the moment, so I’ll try my best to paraphrase it.

“You know, we spend all this time going about our day, but have you recently taken a second to look at something? I mean really look into the fine details of even the simple things. It just goes down and down no matter how far you go. I dunno, everything just seems beautiful now"

I think this just describes exactly how I feel about literally everything. Not just about learning, but how I view life in general. Honestly, this might be a whole separate blog post, but to conclude this meandering conversation, you can say that sharing what I’ve learned with others is one of my life missions, and while I may not know a lot or be an expert in anything, I’m hoping that people can learn a thing or two from the science fair project I worked on. It might take me a while to come out with these posts, but if everything goes well, hopefully, I’ll continue this series in alternate directions in other areas that I find interesting.

I’m actually super excited to start working on this, and I really hope some of you find it interesting as well.