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I believe that as a creative, it’s in my own interest to be curious and inquisitive, to seek out what I don’t know, to learn new things and expand my skill-set. By learning more, I know more, which in turn means I can share this knowledge with others. I never thought I’d become an online teacher but I do remember the day it all began.
When I worked in-house at Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell, I was tasked with researching and developing a Skillshare class. I was told that I was very good at explaining things to people, which is why I was the right person for the job. I was completely out of my depth. I never thought of myself as a teacher or someone who could explain something well. Quite the opposite, in fact. I always thought of myself as someone who stumbled over their words and couldn’t make themselves understood.
In 2017 I began my journey into the world of online teaching, and I must admit, it was not smooth sailing. The first class I created, probably took me 3 weeks to produce. It wasn’t up to my standard. I ended up scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch. At first, I felt quite downcast about having to redo the whole class and waste all that effort. By redoing the class, however, I was able to improve on my previous mistakes, make the workflow much more efficient and produce a result I was much happier with. As with any task, once you enter a spiral, instead of getting stuck in a loop – see my post Why It’s Important Not to Get Stuck in a Loop for more on that – you’ll end up getting better and learning more. Because I had learned from my mistakes, I could avoid them in the future and start off on the right foot.
In the hopes that the first class would be a success and the students were willing to enrol in more classes, I had planned a three part series. Each class in the series, was to be a little more advanced than the previous one, to allow the students to build on their experience. The first class was received enthusiastically by the Kurzgesagt audience, who demanded the second part to be released ASAP. I was incredibly moved by the positive feedback and the demand for the classes. I felt encouraged by the students that I was on the right track in the way I structured the class, the subject matter I decided to teach and amazed by the class projects that were being submitting. The second and third parts of the series were eventually launched as well. At this point, I was well on my way to becoming an experienced online teacher.
You could say, that I had found my calling. In December 2018, I produced my very first solo class, How to Be More Efficient in Adobe After Effects, which I launched the following January. The class was based on a personal animation project, I had created that winter. With the help of expressions, I engineered a snow simulation for a wintery scene. I have always liked playing with code and making things work more efficiently, but hadn’t gone to this level of detail for an animation before. Once the personal project was completed, I had learned so much, I felt, I needed to share my new found knowledge with the world. Without the Kurzgesagt name attached to it, I wasn’t sure, if this class was going to get much notoriety. After all, my name was virtually unknown in the e-learning community.
To date, this is still my most watched class. I got so much positive feedback from students, I felt motivated to keep making educational content. Some people even recognised me from my previous classes, even though my name doesn’t appear in any of the descriptions or materials.
It took some time before I created my next class. In November 2019, I launched Setting Up Your Animation with Colour Schemes in Adobe After Effects. Similar to the previous one, this class was also based on an expression heavy personal project. I wanted to create a setup that would switch between multiple colour schemes of an animated scene, with a single controller. Since I couldn’t find a tutorial that was teaching anything like this, I decided to create my own class from what I had learned. Unlike my first solo class, this one was less popular. Perhaps, because it was a little more niche. Nonetheless, I’m glad I made it. I love sharing what I’ve learned, no matter how obscure it is or how small the target audience may be. Because at the end of the day, I make what I am interested in.
If I can’t find a solution to a creative problem online, there are bound to be other people who have the same problem. I want to be able to offer a solution. So, why am I an online teacher? Because I love learning and I love sharing what I have learned with others.