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Why teaching beginning software is so difficult

When I started teaching at The Art Institute of Phoenix, I discovered something that really doesn't seem to make much sense - teaching the beginning classes is much more difficult than teaching the advanced classes.

After a while, I decided to specialize in teaching beginners. If you've taught these types of classes, you know how difficult they are to do. If you haven't, it may seem a strange thing for me to say. Please let me explain.

Most software classes are taught by people who have been using the software for a long time. They have long since advanced way past the beginning stages, and are fascinated by what are ultimately small details of the software, many times trivia. Important for productivity, but not important for getting started.

If you've ever taken a software class and asked the teacher, for example, *what good is Adobe Illustrator?* and gotten a blank look, you can see how difficult it is for *gurus, wizards, and know-it-alls* to answer. If someone can answer that question, and I can, you are with someone who has examined the underlying concept of a piece of software. And for people like me, whose careers grew up with the software, that tends to be a difficult answer to find.

Yes, teaching beginning software is very difficult, and I am proud to be known as a good teacher for beginners. Here is a good test of your teacher: ask him or her *how come we gotta do this stuff?* If they smile and answer, *I'm glad that you asked that*, you are in the right place.