Yesterday's post was about what I have learned from being a teacher. Today looks at what I was able to apply from those lessons to my corporate and entrepreneurial life.
An added side benefit from becoming a teacher, for me, was the ways the teaching experience folded into and improved my career. When I was starting out in my career, I would struggle with communication – my written communication was always too verbose and although I could give presentations like nobody’s business, sometimes I did not tailor my communication appropriately to the person it was meant for – so people could not clearly get their next steps from my approach.
Once I began teaching at the college level, I learned many lessons – most important was how to tailor my content and delivery to my audience. This is not something that comes easily. You learn to differentiate your lesson from class to class and sometimes during the same class – something that worked yesterday no longer works today. There is an unspoken agreement in higher ed that does not always represent across the younger grades – there is the idea that you are in charge of the grade for the students there is less direct involvement by other school administrators or even parents – there is just the college student, their performance and the professor’s interpretation of it. For the younger grades, there is, of course, more involvement with parents – I know everyone is talking about helicopter parenting extending to the college years, but I have not seen it yet during my college teaching experiences – no parents have contacted me to discuss their college-aged kids’ grades but of course for the younger learners, this is normal and okay.
My career benefited from my ability to deliver clear, direct content with actual deliverables/next steps or recaps of the “lessons” (aka meetings). I was asked to give corporate training to executives and then asked to do it again and again for different groups of individuals. I was able to transition my projects from being in trouble to succeeding by tailoring my deliverables and my instructions to each person’s learning styles and abilities. And I was able to do it without being obvious about it – it was just something that naturally flowed from my teaching style and which I was able to apply seamlessly to my 9to5 life.
Even now, as an entrepreneur, it helps me with my one on one dealings with clients – I can explain my changes to the resume and more without being obtuse or short with it – everyone comes from different places in their career readiness and no one needs to be made to feel bad about their starting point – the idea is to focus on the end game and to help them get there as painlessly as possible.
What do you think about how I apply my teaching style to my entrepreneurial and career goals? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen