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Why is teaching hard?

The other day in an interview, when I was trying to explain Poseidon (a web framework that I wrote from scratch,, I found it difficult at exactly "what level of detail" I should communicate.

The challenge is that, the student has a different map of the territory than the teacher. And as we know reality is incredible detailed. Frames are made out of the details you know.

So when you explain something, the challenge becomes,

  1. How best do I determine what level of detail to communicate at?
  2. How do I proactively explain things to slowly move the level of detail closer to the source of truth (i.e. more detailed)?

This really shows why doing something yourself or building something from scratch is SO POWERFUL. Because you develop an intimate relationship with all of the nuances.

This reminds me of how I was taught chemistry in high school. At the beginning we were given an oversimplified model and were told that "when you get to junior year, you'll see why this was wrong."

Come junior year, we were shown the "actually correct model" and then proceeded to understand why the old, simpler model was wrong.

The challenge is that, had we not first learned the simpler model, it would have been an order of magnitude more challenging to grasp the more complicated model.

This is why abstractions are important and communicating at the CORRECT LEVEL OF DETAIL is very important. Too detailed, and the student won't grasp the material. Too simple, and the student will miss important details.

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