About two months ago, I received an email from someone I have worked with quite often in the past couple of years, and who has become not only a valued colleague but also a personal friend over time. He was asked to teach a class closely related to the field we’re working in at his alma mater, something that he would love to do. However, his busy agenda didn’t allow him to do this on his own, so he asked me to join him. Even more so, he asked me to be in the lead as he was having a pretty full agenda but didn’t want to say ‘no’. As you can imagine I was honored and agreed to it almost immediately. As you might know, I have attended university myself, although it wasn’t the same as the one we were about to start teaching at. Still, I realized immediately that this could only become a great experience, as well as a wonderful way of reliving a bit of the university life.
We’re almost three weeks in now, and we’ve done quite a bit of work already freshening up the course, preparing lectures and slides and a practical assignment. We’ve delivered two lectures so far, which also adds to my public speaking experience. Even though it is a relatively small group of students we’re teaching (about 20 enrolled), there’s no better way to prove (not in the least to yourself) that you really know something about a particular subject than to explain it to others. The fact that we have to teach everything in English (of which I am not a native speaker) only adds to the challenge. So far, I think we’re doing pretty well, even though the theory we have to teach (there are some guidelines) is a bit dry in places.
It’s a paid job as well (and it doesn’t pay half bad either), plus the university told us that they weren’t looking for a one-off teacher, as they have had to look for suitable teachers every year for the past couple of years. They would like us to deliver the course in the years to come as well, which means that we get the chance to further improve on both the course contents and our delivery of it.
Still, just being asked to do this alone warrants me checking off the ‘being regarded as an expert in my field’ list item, I think. This won’t keep me from trying to get more exposure in the years to come, though! I haven’t been a speaker on any conference this year, but I am looking at re-entering the public speaking thing next year. I’ll focus on domestic conferences at first (if only because of the little one that’s coming up), but there are some very interesting conferences abroad that I would like to present at some day…
In the meantime, this teaching gig is a great way to practice the public speaking and a very fun thing to do too! Who knows what it will lead to in the future..