I’ve been doing this teaching thing for more than 10 years now…not counting a couple of years waaay back when I was in the Air Force and teaching English in Vietnam. Never intended to make it another career path, but so be it.
The funny thing is, though, a bazillion years ago I mentally charted my life’s path and projected that, at this time in my life, I would be teaching.
Then I barreled off into my life’s work of public relations and kind of forgot about that goal.
Flash forward 40-plus years, and here I am at Curry College after having worked for some totally cool…and a couple of not-so-cool…companies and organizations in places as varied as South Carolina, Washington, Virginia, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.
The interesting (to me) thing is that there has been one constant throughout that entire period…I’ve never stopped learning:
> Added two business degrees to the English degree that I started off with.
> Graduated from the Defense Information School with a certificate acknowledging my capabilities in government public affairs.
> Studied for and passed the Public Relations Society of America’s professional accreditation exam.
> Started writing book reviews for a couple of professional journals…which meant that I had to read, understand, and explain the various marketing, public relations, social media, and advertising texts that I was asked to cover.
I’m in the classroom now sharing those experiences and the knowledge gained with hundreds (thousands, now??) of up-and-coming professionals. And I learn something each and every day in the process.
My take on this activity is that, if I am going to help these young men and women prepare for a career in whatever field they happen to choose, I have to be as current as possible in my own knowledge.
And then I bring what I’ve learned back into the classroom to share with my students.
It’s a continuum…learn…teach…learn some more…
PRSA has as its slogan “Advancing the Profession and the Professional.” That, to me, is the key. We all have knowledge and talents that make us uniquely us. But those qualities should, again in my opinion, be shared with others.
I write often about enthusiasm for what one is doing and pride in having done it. Sharing one’s passion with others is one source of the pride that I so firmly believe should be the hallmark of a professional…regardless of his or her chosen career path.
It’s one thing to know how to do something well. It’s an entirely different matter to then pass that knowledge on to others so that they, too, might realize the pleasures, the rewards and…yes…the “challenges” of building a successful career.
Success in one’s life…personal OR professional…is an ongoing opportunity to teach AND to learn. How are YOU doing??