I’ve been lucky enough to add “Adjunct Professor” to my resume since starting my own business. I have taught event management related courses at the community college level for the past six semesters. I’m not shy about saying how much I love it. Sure, the grading of papers, writing of exams (thank goodness for scantron grading!) and the commitment of 3-6 hours a week in the classroom can be a lot but there is something that happens when I walk through the door of the classroom and I become Professor Matthews. I get all excited because essentially what I get paid to do is to educate a new generation of event professionals about the industry I adore, I get to share crazy stories and I get to hopefully play a role in them designing their best life. Sure, there are days when I look out at the sea of glazed over faces and wonder if anything is actually sinking in or if I will really make a difference, but I can’t let that cloud my love of what I do.
Imagine the joy that filled my heart a few weeks ago when I was laying by the pool in Phoenix, enjoying the dessert sun and an email popped up on my iPhone. It took a moment to put it all into context but I soon realized it was from a student I had my very first semester of teaching – that was 3 years ago. She offered the kindest words about how much my class had meant to her and how often she uses the practical information I shared with the class. She went on to say that she had created her own opportunity for finding a job (I’m a huge believer in creating your own opportunities) and how by being brave enough to talk to the right person on the right day, she was now lined up for her second round of interviews for her dream job and it looked very promising that she was going to be the right candidate. This job would change her pay scale, her confidence and her life.
Her concluding thoughts were what really struck a cord:
“I wanted to say thank you for the things you taught in your class. I know without those skills, I would have never known how to go about applying for this position and increase my chances above all other candidates!!! You are what school is about- teaching students the true skills, the etiquette and the know how to obtain positions within the corporate world. Whether I get the job or not, I feel confident that what you taught in your classroom will help me to be a better candidate and employee.”
If that doesn’t convince me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, I don’t know what will! As I say goodbye to another group of 35 students next week as the Spring Semester ends, I can only hope that something I said over our 17 weeks together made a difference and that somehow, in someway, I have helped them to become architects of their own lives and their own successes. Teaching really is one of the greatest jobs on earth!
Got to run- my red pen has to get warmed up to grade all these final projects sitting on my desk!