I taught my first beginner photography class tonight to two wonderful students - both who want to take better pictures of their kids. I originally thought that I would teach lecture style, but in coming up with how and what I wanted to teach in the class, I realized that I really do not think that I could ever be a lectern teacher - I need to be more of a lab teacher. And, when it comes down to it, how do you learn photography but by doing it.
This pinpoints one of the most important things about taking up this wonderful hobby of photography (for me, it is much more than a hobby, but for the average person, that is what it is). You really need to get out there and do it yourself. I am really hoping that these girls don't expect me to regurgitate their manuals - or that I will talk about how "the inverse square law" means this and that - I won't be that teacher. What I want to be is like your best friend who knows something and really can't wait to share it with you - and you really can't help but get excited about it, too.
In reality, I still have a lot of things to learn about photography - a lot of the neat things that this or that lens can do that it's equivalent can't because of how it is made, or what its max aperture is, etc. But these are all advanced techniques that many times you can only learn by doing. There is very little in photography that you can learn just by reading anyway. Very little. What has to happen is familiarity. Very like an athlete who practices a certain move day after day until one day, s/he is faced with the situation in a game/race/whatever, and the moment happens where you either stop thinking and DO it, or you are paralyzed by it. Shooting your first paying gig only on Manual setting is a good example.
So, I enjoyed myself immensely, and hope that my students did as well.