What I Learned Teaching My First College Class

bentleyfalcoln Bentley University is one of the best business schools in the country. I say that as a proud alumnus of the school.

Over the years I've taught online classes for Lynda.com, CreativeLiveTreehouse and USF.

Those and every talk I've ever given showed me that teaching was in my blood and something I've always thought about doing more of.

But, when offered the opportunity to teach eMarketing, in a classroom, at Bentley I jumped at the opportunity.

Now that grades are in and graduation is on the horizon I wanted to share what I learned in my first semester as an adjunct professor.

I LOVE TEACHING

It was clear to me that I enjoyed teaching others, but after this one semester I know that I want to teach a lot more in classrooms.

The challenge of working with students who truly care about the subject, mixed with those who are taking it in the hopes for an easy grade makes each class unique.

Preparing two and a half hours of engaging class time once a week was a new and exciting challenge for me.

Teaching full time is something I'd love to do. Without a Masters Degree I've been told this won't be possible, but I'd like to think my real world experience and expertise might be enough somewhere. I'm holding out hope.

GRADING IS STRESSFUL

Grading on a curve was something I always hated as a student. I firmly believe that students should get the grades they earn.

But, when I sat down to grade the first assignment for my class (taking a piece of content and reimagining it into three new ones) I wasn't prepared for how stressful it would be. What makes one paper a 95 and another a 90? Where is the line between great and good?

Dr. Janet Hale from Texas State University gave me some great advice over coffee when I visited her that helped lower the stress a bit. She told me to put every assignments in piles of 90s, 80s, and so on. Then to go back through the individual piles to fine tune the grades. This helped immensely and made the rest of the semester easier.

I'm sure the more teaching you do, the less stressful it becomes, but this was a big surprise and gives me a new found respect for every teacher in the world.

STUDENTS ARE TOUGH

I've been challenged by executives around the globe when they question something I've said. Yet, none of them are as tough as when a passionate undergraduate student challenges you.

They speak their mind. They question everything. If you are not on your toes they will eat you alive.

My class was an elective so I had a variety of majors in the room and it made for fun discussions.

Oh and you better be ready to explain why you gave the grades you did. I thankfully kept detailed notes in preparation for these questions, but I wasn't ready for there to be so many of them.

IF YOU ARE NOT ACTIVELY PART OF YOUR INDUSTRY YOU SHOULDN'T BE TEACHING

The first thing I did for my class was to set up a Tumblr site where I could share interesting things I saw throughout the week. The students were expected to keep tabs on these stories and we'd discuss them at the beginning of each class.

Over and over, I was told by the students how much they appreciated I always used real world examples when teaching. I learned that this isn't as common as it should be.

I think it is critical for anyone teaching to stay on top of trends and happenings in their industry. We need to insure that what we are teaching is relevant to the world that the students will soon be entering.

backatbentley

Before, I finish this post, I want to give a big thank you to Andy Aylesworth, PhD for giving me the opportunity to teach at Bentley.  For a kid who was told by his high school guidance counselor he'd never get in to Bentley, it meant more than I can ever express that I had the honor of teaching there.

As of now, I have no future classes scheduled.

The students (from what I've been told) really enjoyed the class, but as it goes with adjunct professors it is semester-by-semester and you never know when there will be an opening for you.

I'm hoping to return to Bentley, but I'm also looking for other places to teach. The draw of the classroom is stronger than ever in me.

Thank you also to my students in MK-361. I learned a lot from you and I'm excited to see where you go in the world.

Go Falcons!