It’s official! I have been offered and accepted an adjunct faculty position with the local community college. This is a huge accomplishment for me on many levels. First, because I love to teach and returning to a classroom is like returning home. At times a challenging one, to be sure, but one where I always felt I “fit.” Second, I feel a sense of triumph in returning to the classroom. I worked incredibly hard for my masters, without which this opportunity would not be available to me, and I now get to share my love of these studies in the classroom.
This is also a huge return on investment for me. I have been teaching CPR, first aid and upper level life support courses through my own small business and for others for years but have not taught in a formal “classroom” or had my own long-term “class” since 2007. Many times over the last seven years my husband and I discussed whether or not I should continue teaching and I landed stood on the side of “yes.” Fortunately, I am a master at multitasking and thrive when I border on being overextended and he is incredibly supportive.
Teaching these smaller courses was the only means by which I kept my skills up as an educator and it was despite significant time dedication, first, while in a challenging masters program, and then, while working full-time. For almost three years I had organized and taught pre-hospital provider continuing education and certification courses, such as EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), before I decided to return to school and pursue my masters as a physician assistant. The job I left was a wonderful, difficult, rewarding and challenging one where I found a passion for teaching. Just before I left that job to pursue my masters degree, someone who I had mistaken for a friend told me he did not think that I even liked to teach. Ouch.
The funny thing is that I have continued to teach ever since and routinely have students referred to me because of my overwhelmingly positive reviews. While there is no reason for that person to ever know of my successes, personally and/or professionally, I feel vindicated by every positive review of my teaching and courses. Not to say I am a perfect teacher, or that my methods work for everyone, but in general, students leave my classes well-educated, comfortable with the material and satisfied with the investment they made in my course. In my experience, the old philosophy that leadership starts at the top can be directly translated to the classroom, as an uninspiring teacher will never motivate or make a positive impact on their students. That said, I know from my experiences, both as a student and as an instructor, that a dedicated, enthusiastic educator can make all the difference in a classroom. For now, I am preparing for my return this fall and am looking forward to “running’ a classroom again!