Is great story the same as great education?

Andrew Kamphey
4 min readMar 2, 2023
Hero image of me contemplating the hero’s journey

I’ve been studying storytelling for my whole adult life. Theatre, Film, Writing, Digital.. you name it, I’ve studied it. ( Literally I have a Degree in Theatre from University of Florida )

You just gotta tell a good story.

I’ve heard this refrain. over and over again.

Selling a product? Needs a great story with the user as the hero, not the product.

Writing a Tweet Thread? Needs a great hook, and a great story.

Making a YouTube video? Needs a great story.

Pitching? Needs a great story.

And right now I’m telling stories every single day, multiple times a day, to many different people.

I have a YouTube Channel. I sell tutorials. I sell tools. I sell education.

Education on making better Google Sheets.

And I’m going back to the roots of modern storytelling by reading Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

But is it making me a better educator?

Is it making it easier to sell my services, products, tools?

I actually don’t think so.

Learning to craft a great story is just that and only that.

Craft a hook. Craft stakes. Craft paths. Craft resolutions.

It’s crafting. It’s imagining, writing, editing, contextualizing, pushing, pulling, laboring, layering, framing, re-editing.

It’s pure magic.

And magic is great.

Magic is awesome.

Magic rocks.

But education is not magical.

Learning, understanding is not magical.

Teaching is magical. I don’t know how life-long teachers do it.

I mean, let’s be honest. I do know how they do it. We all know how they do it. But we can’t do it.

Teaching is all together different process from storytelling but inside it’s all the same craft.

Lesson planning, understanding, conceptualizing, managing expectations and all sorts of other things.

Being able to relate that to others who don’t know what you know. Walking them hand-by-hand through the process of understanding and then being able to apply those new neurons to their own career/path.

There is a craft to education that I don’t know I got yet.

There’s a craft that goes overlooked, far too often.

Tools, Products, Templates. These are easy for me to grasp. But teaching is hard.

I’m not sure if learning better storytelling is going to make me a better teacher.

But also, do I need to be a better teacher?

At least in the little “Google Sheets Course” world I am in now, the default path has been to teach. Not necessarily to entertain. If you look at Google Sheet YouTube channels they are all about solving specific problems. Here is the solution to that problem.

I find it far more fascinating and fun to entertain.

I also want to admit that I find it frustrating that there are an enormous amount of material, books, courses, on storytelling but I can’t find great resources to learn to teach.

The teaching strategies I see written about are merely the same cliches over and over again. Break down problems/Create analogies/Look at it from a beginner’s point of view.

There is one weird thing I will bring up.

I LOVE teaching board games.

My friend Stuart who runs Game Tree Cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand showed me how to teach any board game. Go there if you get a chance.

Here’s how he taught me to teach games.

Tell the winning state. What conditions happen for a winner to be named? Simple state “the winner is…” and whatever it is. Whether it be last person standing, or player with the most points, or the team with the most points, at some particular time. after 4 rounds or 10 rounds. Whatever it is, state it.

Then answer the most obvious question:

How do you attain that thing? Meaning answer the question of how you get points. How do you become the last player? What happens to the players?

Then work backwards from there. There migth be some explanation of a round or a turn and the choices you have. But ultimately you have already placed the GOAL in front of the players. They can fill in many gaps that you don’t have to fill in for them because we’re all adults here.

Adults or children. We’re all human. Our brains are magnificent things.

And within 3–4 sentances you have a discussion about the gameplay, the turns, the approaches, the items, the tokens. Without people asking “soo.. what does it all mean?”

They know what it means. They can do the math. Ah each turn I can do this or that, and gain X number of points, which is Y percent of the ultimate Z points I need to win.

I find it an absolute blast to teach board games. I’m doing it twice a week now.

And you’re probably putting the pieces together just like I am. Teaching board game with that structure of reverse engineering a winning state, is probably similar or pattern matched to teaching anything.

As long as we all are clear on the goals, the how we get there is the fun part.

Making sure I am teaching something that has a clear end goal, means I can reverse engineer the steps to get there.

And teaching doesn’t have to be as straight forward as storytelling.

Ultimately storytelling is a good skill to have to teach, but isn’t the only thing.

And just like there is craft to storytelling, there is a craft to teaching.

Even if I’m not great at teaching now, I can get better.