There are times in our lives when we are forced to make choices that we don't necessarily want to choose at the time. Then, there are other times when the decision is made for us, whether we want it or not. That's what happened to me. A man, who shall remain nameless because it really doesn't matter who he is, made a decision for me. And if I thought he was important enough, I would thank him. But I'm not going to because I realize he was just a small, speck in my life that shall be forgotten as quickly as he was brought into. What I do thank and appreciate is that, as with every experience in my life, I have learned something significant that will remain with me always.
A little over two months ago I was informed that my position had been eliminated. I'll admit, at the moment, I was shocked. I didn't see it coming. For those of you who don't know, when the economy is bad, the higher education industry soars. I, mistakenly, assumed I was safe. Safe from being 'let go' or 'laid off'. Boy, was I wrong. I won't lie and say that I didn't contribute to a few issues I had in the workplace - none of us are perfect. But what I will say is that this experience, in another director role with a different university, not only gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizons in a professional capacity, but it also reminded me that I'm not a corporate slave. I will not be someone I'm not to fit into a mold that would require me to suppress who I really am.
Last night I started teaching a new group of undergraduate students. The course is titled "Management: Theory, Practice and Application". It's a junior level course and I had 25 very active students. We took care of the housekeeping type of activities, such as introductions and course assignment details, then we began discussing the topic of management with a focus on how management is impacted by the state of our current economy. It was quite interesting and the experience reminded me of why I love teaching. Teaching older students, anyway. (For those of you who teach at the K-12 levels...God bless you. I admire that you can do it).
Anyhow, after a great night of discussions and interactions, the night ended with a handful of students coming up to me to ask questions or give me comments. One, in specific, stands out. He told me that he needed to tell me on his way out of class that my class was the best one he's had, thus far. He told me that my style of teaching, which is to integrate the course topics of the week with practicality and theory combined, was great for learning. I thanked him and then he added that most of his instructors would bore him because they lectured only. He continued to tell me that most faculty didn't keep his interest, but I did.
Needless to say, I was touched. Mostly because I was reminded of what I truly enjoy and excel at. I was forced into this; I didn't choose to go back to teaching. However, I know it's only because this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I love it. Standing in front of those students brought back the memories of why I love teaching. It reminded me of the blessings that my education has given me. At one point last night, the discussion surrounded the topic of higher ed. It gave me the opportunity to be reminded that I am where I am today despite the statistics. And I'll never again, take that for granted.
Thank you Mother Nature...your winds of change are a welcome breeze.