“Yeah ok, why not?”
I was in the middle of the Canadian woods when I got the call. With those inauspicious words I began my teaching career, and two weeks later I was teaching my first class.
Those poor kids were paying £13k a year (ok, maybe not so poor) and I don’t think it took long for them to realise that I hadn’t done any teaching before.
But we stuck at it – them as much as me – and it worked out well in the end. I’m happy to say I had the best feedback of all the new lecturers, though since one of them sounds like a total deadbeat and the other had a petition raised against her by the class, there wasn’t much competition.
On the day of the first lesson, I was terrified. I really felt doubt in myself – that black hole emptiness, like your stomach is being sucked back in on itself. I was sweating, ugh. I rehearsed my first words over and over, like I was going to ask someone out on a date (thirteen 20-year-olds in this case).
I was teaching a course on how to make web projects – everyone started from scratch and in the first lesson we all built websites (based on WordPress, like this blog), then in each lesson after that we looked at a different way of trying to attract people to our sites – e.g. how to run Facebook ads or find customers through Twitter. There were projects on everything from movie food recipes to unusual furniture designs, Oriental beauty tips and ‘Living on the Edge‘ (mine was more prosaic, Advice for Media Students).
I’m not sure that all of them quite understood everything, but they did get the hang of posting stuff that would prompt a response.
At the end of the course I asked the students to write a report on how their own project had turned out, what went well, what went wrong, etc.
The last question was ‘What was the most interesting thing you learned during this project?’.
Here’s what one of them answered.
Funnily enough, that’s exactly what I learned too.