Time to put up or shut up

The teaching bug bit me hard about 5 years ago. A friend at the university asked me to fill in for an instructor who had to back out at the last minute.

“Sure. What do I have to do?”

“Just oversee advertising journalism seniors with their capstone project.”

No official curriculum. No books. No lesson plans. Sounded reasonable…and not too taxing with my 40+ hour a week ad agency job. Guide students who were to draw on the previous 4 year’s worth of knowledge and create a phenomenally creative strategic advertising plan for a real-life client.

They looked at me with terror in their eyes on the first day. I looked back at them with the same terror, realizing they had no idea where to begin.

That first year must have looked like a divine comedy. The reality was, underneath it all, there most certainly was a curriculum. And lesson plans. And grading. I quickly assessed that these very green, fresh-faced advertising professionals needed refresher courses on everything from research to messaging to creative briefs to design to presentation techniques. And don’t even get me started on writing skills. So, I treated them as I would any other intern I’d been responsible for assimilating into the agency. I taught.

So began my love affair with “formal” teaching.

After seeing the amazing results that first year, I was forever hooked. The contagious energy given off by these young, creative minds was addictive. They just needed to learn how to harness the energy and focus. The next year I jumped at the chance to do it again. Do it differently. Do it better. During the years I’ve taught, I’ve been an instructor, coach, therapist, cheerleader, intercessor, best friend and worst nightmare.

All the while as an adjunct, I not-so-secretly hoped for a chance to do this full-time. I casually inquired about the possibility, but was shot down when told universities prefer faculty with masters and PhD degrees. Since I was in possession of neither, I resigned myself to be happy as an adjunct.

Until now.

The strategic communications department posted “non-tenured, professional track” positions a few weeks ago. Now we’re talking! The glitch is, the positions are open to a national search. Well, $#!%. Seriously, what are my chances against industry professionals from major market areas? Ad men/women with prestigious client campaign notches in their belts? And, God forbid, one of them would hold a PhD on top of everything? An obvious overachiever was probably standing in the way of my dream job. Sigh. All I can bring to the table was my 30 years in the industry (though not in major market areas), 5 years as an adjunct and an overwhelming, passionate desire to teach.

But I’ve thrown my hat in the ring anyway. I hit the send button with my packet of information yesterday.

So I’ve put up. If I don’t get it, I’ll shut up.

6 thoughts on “Time to put up or shut up

  1. Well maybe the protocol is that they must advertise but as you’re there and already known to the university, I’d say that you’re in with a good chance. Best of luck… 🙂


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