One learns more when one teaches

Luis Paulo Gatti, Associate Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai, shares his experience as a teacher at one of the most prestigious Brazilian schools for creativity and explains how he chooses new talent for his team.

by Luis Paulo Gatti , Saatchi & Saatchi

























 

I believe that the best thing you can give to someone is the gift of knowledge.

The title of this article, “One learns more when one teaches”, was something that my dad always told me when I was a child.

When I was having difficulty with a particular subject at school, my father would tell me to find a friend who was having the same problem and try to explain the subject in question to them.

In order to help my friend, I would then have to study even harder, so I would eventually be able to teach them.

It was a random coincidence that led me to become a teacher. I received an invitation from a friend who is a teacher (Andre Rival) asking me to talk to some of his students about my experiences in the industry. The talk was a great and enjoyable experience. It gave me the push to embark on a new challenge.

After that, during the second academic trimester of 2015, I got my first offer to be a teacher. It was at the Cuca School, one of the most prestigious Brazilian schools for creativity.

In the beginning, I was worried about two things.

The first was that it was a big responsibility. To teach is to understand that you are helping to build someone else’s future. It is the first step in their career, and you must have respect for other people’s dreams and aims.

The second was that I didn’t have the same experience as the other teachers, who were all famous names in Brazilian advertising.

Despite my concerns, I decided to accept the offer.

In the first month, we managed to tackle the biggest Brazilian advertising award and win. This gave me the confidence I needed to believe that regardless of my previous worries, I could do it. And so I pursued my teaching career.

After a few months of teaching, I began to realise the bigger role I had in my students’ lives. I was not only there to share my experiences and references; I also had to understand each individual I was teaching. Every student had his or her own background, all of them different.

Some of them were just beginning their careers, while others were already acquainted with agencies and the creative processes. Some had family to support them financially, and were therefore able to enjoy the classes. Others were having difficulty paying for their studies and, because of this, were unable to enjoy the classes due to pressure: the course was their chance to better their lives; they had to succeed. Some just had to study, while others could not be fully dedicated to the classes due to other commitments.

How do you balance all these different student expectations? Honestly there is no one answer that fits all. You can’t use the same speech for everyone, because everyone is at a different stage in their lives, both professionally and personally.

A lot of patience is required, as you have to take each situation seriously and individually. Engage in discussion and always remember that when we talk to young adults, the student’s lack of professional knowledge is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to also understand their individual stories and circumstances.

The truth is that students go through a mix of feelings – feelings that we can all relate to. All you have to do is think back to when you first started your career. It wasn’t easy, was it?

PATIENCE AND EMPATHY

Every time I notice that a student is not happy, I talk to them in order to understand and try to solve the problem. Trust me: most of the time there is more to the problem than meets the eye.

As a teacher, seeing the evolution of a student, their growth and development, is what makes me happy. Seeing their excitement when they finally get that opportunity to work for a good agency, or win an award; this is what motivates me to teach.

After working at Cuca, I got an offer to teach at Miami Ad School. My classes are online, so I can stay connected to the Brazilian market. In my last class I worked with nearly 100 students. It is not easy. Many talented students study and graduate from Miami Ad School, not only in Brazil, but all over the world.

After my students complete my classes, I remain friends with them and try my best to keep up with their careers, supporting each step they take.

Recently I had the opportunity to hire an art director who was one of my first students. His name is Ivan Börmaister, he is extremely talented and I'm very excited that he has joined our team.

One has to remember that students will become young professionals soon. And the same patience that I have during my classes, I try to bring to the agency.

Here at Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai we take care of our new talents. They are the main energy of our agency and we strive to show them that we recognize this. One of our newest art directors, Alan Hong, won a D&AD graphite new blood pencil. He really has a lot of creative promise.

We always try to open seniors' briefings to the younger ones. We want our younger creatives to feel they have opportunities to create good work, and mixing with senior teams gives them lessons in practice, where they can learn from their seniors’ experience.

If you are reading this article and you are a senior professional, be patient with younger talents. They will soon play key role in building the future of communications.

If you are a younger creative, always listen to tips and observe  everything that’s happening around you. Try to find a professional you admire to be your mentor.

And if you want, you can always share your case with me: luis.gatti@saatchime.com

Good luck on your journey!