Friday, September 07, 2007

Training and Learning

A few weeks ago we hired a new girl to work with me over in River Run, since Yari is moving on to another job. The new girl's name is Angela and from the day she started she has been eager to learn. The past few weeks she has mostly been doing Front Office tasks and she hasn't really been learning what her job will be in the Back Office. However, today I was able to not only teach her new skills, but I also got to bring her over to the office where she will be working. It was her first time seeing it. (Maybe it was good to hide the fact that it's a storage room in the basement of the parking garage for the first couple of weeks so she didn't quit on the spot...!)

Anyway, my job actually felt rewarding today. I was teaching someone new things that will be essential to her success in this job that she's starting. She was learning the nuts and bolts of the job and I had the privilege of explaining it to her in a way that connected with her learning preference. I had to think back to what would have been helpful to me as I was learning the job. Keeping that in mind, I got to train her on certain things in a way that gives her a more complete understanding of the "why" behind what we do, while still teaching her the basic mechanics of how the process should be done. Then, she got the chance to actually do it, rather than just watch me do it. She was grateful that I took the time to make sure she understood. Angela even said, "Thank you so much, Ruth. You are so good at explaining things in a way that makes sense to me. When I was reading about this stuff, I didn't really get it. But after you explained it to me, it is so much clearer. I really understand now."

I love teaching. I get such satisfaction from guiding someone through a new concept or a new task and seeing them "get it." Then, it becomes their own and suddenly they are equipped to handle not only that task, but they have an additional tool in their arsenal to figure out related tasks that might come up in the future. Knowledge is cumulative. It builds. It grows and multiplies as more opportunities for expansion are provided.

Maybe that's why today was such a good day. I had been feeling a little held back in my job. Opporunities to learn more and expand my knowledge were denied to me in certain ways. But, with this chance to teach someone else, I feel like my realms of responsibility and learning were stretched, right along with hers. I believe people need those chances or they get complacent, bored, and frustrated. I know that was happening to me. Today was a breath of fresh air in a few weeks that have been somewhat stifiling. My gifts, skills, and abilities were actually put to use today in a way that felt rewarding to me. I can't wait to teach her more!

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