It’s one of those life experiences where I say “never would I have expected to have done this”. Not a teacher in the classic sense. I’ve never taken an education or pedagogy class. I have no teaching certification.
This summer I was asked to lead sessions about blogging and LinkedIn through my work as a communications manager. My ‘students’ were from the Balochistan province of Pakistan. I was asked because of my experience as a communications practitioner and my experiences with Pakistan.
I worked with two groups, both for five week long courses on blogging and one for a session on LinkedIn. The first group was made up entirely of university faculty.
Repeat, my first teaching experience was to have professors and lecturers as my “students”. In my first class with them I made very clear that I would be “leading” not teaching these sessions and that I saw everyone as a colleague and not a student. I actually spoke very little outside of the first session when I introduced the concept of blogging and the last session where we wrapped up. For each session in between, I gave the group prompts or questions to help guide what they would write about. By the end of the course, many felt empowered by this new form of writing for themselves but also as a tool for their courses at their home universities.
I then led the next blogging course with college students from the same Pakistan universities. This group was different in that I saw them as my students and not my colleagues. The group had a different energy than the older, more professional faculty. But, they warmed to the concept of blogging and I gave them many prompts that allowed them to reflect on their experiences in the US.
The last thing I led as a teacher was the purest teaching experience. Over two hours with the college student group, I showed them how to use LinkedIn. Several of the students already had accounts set up so I tried to make the class as helpful as possible. We also took their profile pictures after class which I later shared with them to post.
I had a funny moment where I ‘caught’ one of the students in a social media post about my LinkedIn class. She simply called it “Boring” in a picture from the classroom. Since she and I were already connected on Instagram, I saw her photo and then commented, “Be bored all you want, just don’t post this picture to LinkedIn.” Funny enough, her next photo was a selfie we took together at the last class. Her caption this time referred to me as her “#favoritehuman”. Hmmm, ok.
All in all, I’m glad I tried teaching. I don’t know if it is my higher calling though I do enjoy sharing my skills and experience with others. I think I’ve earned a position to be able to do that and it feels good to be recognized as an expert in something.