It was recently Teacher’s Day and many social media posts implored people to remember or post about a particularly inspiring teacher they’d once had. I have a few stand-outs; those that gave me confidence, the math teacher who clarified order of operations for me, the engineering teacher who insisted the most important professional skill was the art of dining out in fine restaurants. I could go on. Most of the teachers I am remembering are no longer alive or at least well into retirement, and LinkedIn searches have proved unsatisfactory.
I have enjoyed being an adjunct faculty member in addition to my day job; in fact this was the first year I was able to teach both Fall and Spring semesters, often with the same students in both classes. Admittedly, what I teach can, from a distance, seem very dry (“Introduction to” and “Advanced Parametric Design using @SOLIDWORKS” at @Waubonsee Community College). My classes offer a wider group of students than one might expect…traditional students, returning adults, creatives, engineering management, career changers of all ages…all with their own interesting stories (I always considered myself a non-traditional student but that’s another story for another day).
I try to motivate and inspire as well as train. I try to share more intangibles than the textbook provides. I try to make it fun.
I am certainly willing to stay in touch with my former students, and help them in the ways that I can…advice, resume review, industry connections, etc. Only a small percent really take me up on that offer. I truly love hearing of their updates on LinkedIn or through other channels.
Yet, there are so many connections and interdependencies in life we don’t see. Maybe, just maybe, on some future Teacher’s Day, I will be the one remembered.