My friend David asked me the other day, “How did you get into teaching and why do you continue to do it?”. It’s an interesting question, and one that I don’t often consider. Teaching is just something I’ve always done.
My first experience with teaching, albeit rather informally, was when I worked for Skyline Cablevision/RogersTV as a producer back in the early 90s. The majority of the people who worked on productions at the TV station were volunteers, and they needed to be trained. So I conducted workshops and did on-the-job training for probably hundreds of volunteers over the years. That’s where I cut my teeth as a trainer..
It seemed I had an aptitude for teaching, because flash forward a few years to the early 2000’s and I was hired at a private training firm to teach web design, and I was also brought into Algonquin College to teach in the same Interactive Multimedia program I’d taken in the late 90s. My first few classroom-based courses were rough, I’ll admit – not because I didn’t know my subject, but because classroom control is a learned skill! But I persevered and eventually I was able to be in control from start to finish.
I took a break from Algonquin for a few years to start our business. And to be honest, I went back because I personally needed more cashflow. My bank account and I were both thrilled when I was offered a couple of courses, teaching video production and social media. It was this time around that I really honed my skills and developed a real passion for teaching. I felt like a real professor! I WAS a real professor!
I started to experiment with delivery methods, including flipping my classroom. I learned more and more about what students needed in order to be successful.
To this day, I love every minute of my teaching work (well except maybe the marking!).
To answer the question, why do I do it? Because every single time I step foot in the classroom, I learn something new about myself and my students. Having to teach things to someone else forces me to keep my own skills up. And because there is no better feeling than when I help someone have a “lightbulb moment”. Teaching isn’t something I choose to do. It’s something I HAVE to do. I believe it’s part of my purpose. And that’s a really, really good feeling.