Change Maker/Teacher/Friend/Overall Good Guy
Have You Thought About Adjunct Teaching?
13 juin 2016
Four years ago I was defending my dissertation, explaining the nuances of higher education and the academic exploitation of the student athlete. I was hoping to use this knowledge to help springboard my career as a collegiate athletic administrator. I had played college football, interned for the NCAA and was working full time as an Assistant Athletic Director of a college. My obvious path was to keep on keeping on until I became, well, an athletic director, right?
But before I knew it, I found myself in a classroom at Northeastern University (Boston, MA) giving a lecture about my dissertation. My dissertation advisor thought it would be a good idea if I gave teaching a shot so he highly encouraged, poked and pushed me into a class. A bit of panic set in, well a lot. But I did it. Then I did it again at another institution, then another, and then a few more. And I have been teaching ever since and thriving, if I do say so myself (Thanks Dr. S)!
Now, I find myself in an oddly unique position of helping others break into the faculty profession. In particular, I have been helping practitioners, industry professional, and the non-traditional academics package their industry experience into a nice, neat 15-week semester for all to enjoy… At least that’s what I tell keep telling myself.
So what I share with them, I thought I’d share with you.
The Three E’s: Entertain, Engage, Educate
The Three E’s is something I coined after my first year of teaching. I realized that part of being a professor is theatrics, or academic theater if you will. Think back to your very best professors/classes, they were dynamic, engaging, thought provoking, and interactive. This is the essence of where learning happens. To entertain, I do not mean dancing and singing on tables (though I have done this occasionally), I mean be you, add your own humor even if it is dry or quirky. Don’t be afraid to be informal. Don’t be afraid to share yourself with the class. To engage means to, well, engage your class, engage your students. In other words, you should not give a monologue, but create the environment for dialogue. Ask them what they think? Ask them what they feel? Ask them if what you are saying is making sense. And learn their names. And finally, to educate. If you succeed in the first two E’s, it provides the optimal environment where students are curious and comfortable. In fact, if done right (which I know you will) students will want to come to your class because you’re going to be “THAT PROFESSOR.”
Own The Classroom
Just like a captain of the ship, the pastor of a church, the quarterback of the football, you my friend are running the show! So with running the show its okay to have a little swagger in the way you walk, the way you talk and how you interact with the students. In other words, 1) be confident that you earned the right to be here, 2) you are a master of you craft, and 3) if you don’t own the classroom, the students will.
You’re The Expert
Yeah, you don’t have a doctorates, but so what! You would not have your level of industry experience if you had spent 4 to 8 years in a classroom doing research, publishing, and writing, etc. You spent your time in the trenches, something of which many folks with doctorates only know about in theory. No disrespect to my faculty colleagues and friends (You guys are Awesome!). You are the living, breathing embodiment of the “PROFESSIONAL.” You are what these students aspire to be, well some of them, maybe.
It’s Okay To Be Nervous
The night before your first class, you will be nervous. The day of the first class when all these unfamiliar faces are staring at you and you are staring at them, you will be nervous. But think back to anything you did for the very first time, you were nervous. But being nervous is okay because it means you care. If you weren’t nervous, I’d be worried. Remember 1) You were offered a job for a reason, 2) You know more than they do; not in an arrogant way, but your years of experience gives you an edge, 3) You are going to suck at first, but as the weeks progress you’ll get better.
I have a lot more tips from about structuring a semester, group work/activities, the case study method, flipping the classroom, online resources, books, etc.… but I will save those for the QA that will take place in the comment section below, lol….
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About Dr. Vaughn A. Calhoun
Vaughn Calhoun, Ed.D, is the Director of Business Programs and Assistant Professor at Becker College. He has the responsibility of revamping and relaunching the business program to meet the needs of the 21st century, infusing the Agile Mindset.
Dr. Calhoun is a graduate of Rutgers University where he earned his bachelors degree while also participating as a full scholarship Division I student-athlete on the football team. Likewise, he earned his Master’s of Public Policy and Administration from California State University Long Beach and his Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) from Northeastern University.
Dr. Calhoun is avid on social media blogging and musing about innovation, entrepreneurship, success and sports.
Follow Dr. Calhoun on Twitter: @Professor_Cal
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