Monthly Archives: November 2009



I was forced to face another fear today – demonstrating a computer-based practical for 4th year undergrads. I really didn’t feel like I understood the subject well enough to do it. What I learnt is the following.

  • When you don’t understand something, it’s not necessarily because you’re stupid, but could be because it’s actually quite hard.
  • Admitting this and asking for help is essential. God, I wish I had asked for help more in life. When you ask for help, you generally get it, without judgment. Duh.
  • The effect of getting help can be dramatic, psychologically.
  • Even 4th year students do not like asking for help. I guess we all have that fear of looking like an idiot. They will sometimes consult wikipedia before they consult the demonstrator.
  • Being in a role where I’m able to give help, I can see how much easier the students would make life for themselves if they asked for help. That is, as long as they can understand the help they’re given.
  • I actually quite enjoyed giving help. And I thought, you know what, maybe I do have something to offer in this type of situation. Maybe the fact that I need stuff broken down to simplicity means I’m in a good position to help others who need the same thing.
  • There is no need to pretend to be anything other than I am. I am just another learner sharing a perspective on what I’ve just learnt, and that’s OK for them.