What makes a great teacher? An outstanding researcher? It turns out many of the answers are pretty similar for both professions.
I both conduct and teach user research, so it recently occurred to me that a good researcher and a good teacher share many of the same characteristics. They both are or should be:
Able to think quickly
Each profession requires quite a bit of improvisation. Curveballs keep interactions interesting, dynamic, fun, and challenging. I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. I love making my classes dynamic to mirror what happens in the field.
But the similarities go even deeper. Identifying research goals and good research questions (i.e. being a researcher) is very similar to identifying actionable and achievable learning outcomes (i.e. being a teacher).
In both professions, you start with a topic, narrow it down, explore related questions and eventually dive into a juicy, semi-structured mystery. It's the bomb.
Thank you to my teachers during this teacher appreciation week! You inspired me to practice what I preach. I'm off to class (seriously)!