Yes, I spent several weeks earlier this month teaching a college course. It was both a dream come true and more work than I ever thought possible. I loved every minute of it.
It wasn’t a glamorous course — Human Resources Management for Event Planners — but it is a necessary one for anyone planning to have employees, staff, or even vendors. All of which an event planner will need.
I have taught many workshops, giving numerous talks, and even taught little kids in my teen years. This was, however, my first foray into formal education. My first time giving homework. My first time marking assignments. My first time teaching so the students could pass a standardized exam.
I learned a few things:
- Brains learn in very different ways: I’ve known this for a long time, but it became startlingly clear when I was teaching the class how to solve math problems. I ended up solving each question four different ways. (Yes, math can be solved in many different ways.) I didn’t do it to show off my math skills, but rather because there were four thought patterns that I needed to teach to. It took four solutions for everyone in the class to understand how to solve the problem
- It feels mean to give homework: My little-kid-playing-teacher self was happy to slap on the homework. The former-student part of me was horrified. But, the truth of it is with all the distractions in the classroom (everyone had a desktop computer, for instance) and the fact that many students don’t learn from listening, homework is a necessary way to encourage practice and to help pinpoint what is important in a lesson
- Learning is a practice: As someone who has spent years (years) learning, both formally and informally, it comes fairly easily to me. Add to that the decade and a half of business experience I draw from and I was ready to write that final myself. But, for students who were coming back to education after several years away, studying and learning was challenging. It was a slow process of reawakening that piece of brainwave
- Experience is a great teacher: In addition to the textbook, I included a lot of experiential lessons. I called them labs — in deference to my years as a science student, I’m sure. In my opinion, the students learned and retained more about the topics they did exercises on than those for which they memorized a list or even were taught from the blackboard. They were better engaged and through research, problem solving, and interpreting situations, received better take-aways for their future businesses and careers
From College to Business — Lessons for My Clients
What have I taken away from my college teaching gig?
- Be willing to reframe information so more of the audience understands
- Worksheets, lists, and videos are a good supplement to any talk or text
- Understanding is a process and takes practice. Be patient
- Use case studies and workshop formats whenever possible. Doing is a great teacher