This fall, I taught my first undergraduate course. The class was an overview of Network Engineering and covered everything from the OSI model to DNS best practices. Despite a few hurdles, the students all passed the course and I really got a sense that a majority of them learned a lot in the process. As someone who struggled academically high school, the successful completion of my first college course as an Adjunct Professor felt like quite an accomplishment. My confidence was through the roof until a student informed me that they decided against a career in Network Engineering after taking my course.
At first, I was crushed. This student received an A and was very engaged throughout the course. I assumed this meant that I failed my first attempt at teaching. I suddenly began second-guessing the lecture material and lab content. I eventually asked the student more about their decision and was pleasantly surprised by their answer.
It turns out, I actually did the student a service. They stated that they really learned a lot throughout the course. They gained enough information about Network Engineering to decide that it wasn’t something that they wanted to pursue. It didn’t have anything to do with the content of the lectures or the structure of the labs. They simply didn’t feel passionate about this aspect of technology.
Looking back, I’m really glad this student found out what they weren’t passionate about without endangering their career. I will keep this experience in mind as I teach additional courses. As I help students embark on their careers in IT, I will encourage them to seek internships or job shadowing opportunities. This will help them identify if they are truly following their passion or just attempting to earn a paycheck.
Overall, I loved my first experience as an Adjunct Professor and I can’t wait to teach future courses.