This was a tough summer for me. I had planned to structure my weeks so that I spent some time each day studying, exercising and playing, but I wasn’t able to be so disciplined. And, as a result, my summer just dwindled away.

I recall feeling bitter and angry as school approached that I hadn’t had more time to play and travel. And I remember feeling a little reticent about returning to classes. I wasn’t looking forward to it.

I realize now that I was feeling sad because I wasn’t productive enough. I’m happiest when I’m working my ass off, growing, learning, and making a difference to my students. I know this because in Week 6 of the fall semester I am on fire and I am loving almost every class. Let me tell you what’s going on right now:

1. Last week, I presented two trophies for awards I created for my office administration students: The Top Communicator Award and Most Improved Communicator. I designed and chose the trophies and presented them at a pizza party in front of three generations of office administration students. It was cool and gratifying to know these students will be able to use these awards to help them toward their careers.

2. On Thursday, I took my first-year advertising students to a Chamber business mixer. It was fantastic. They got some necessary experience in face-to-face networking, professional chit-chat, and follow-up. Two of them were offered the chance to design the Chamber’s Facebook page. One of them will be helping to run the Chamber’s annual awards gala and has received a referral for some marketing work. How many first-year students get a chance like that in their sixth week of school, never mind their sixth semester? It was a stressful night for me, though: while I was holding the occasional hand at the Confederation Place Hotel conference room, I was also communicating with my editor at the Globe and Mail on a tight deadline. I made the deadline, by the way.

3. This Wednesday night, my advertising students from last year are hosting a business networking night at the Grizzly Grill for a mentoring initiative I conceived two years ago to help bring the business community to advertising students. I don’t take the credit, however. The students have built the program. On Wednesday, we’ll have about 30 guests (top communications specialists in Kingston and their student matches) for a networking and contract signing event. I’m super stoked. And super proud.

How many part-time college instructors have accomplished all this? Not many, I’d bet. I’m excited to see what else I can do.

So, yes, I’m swamped. But in a good way. I have freelance work coming at me every week, and marking is overwhelming, and I’m working all the time to tweak and improve my lessons. And I’m loving it. So I guess that’s the key to my success. I need structure. I need defined goals, I need to be moving forward all the time.

I need to be making a difference. What about you? What do you need to do to make yourself happy?

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About teachingteacher

Business communications instructor, journalist, corporate communications writer and media trainer ... and Masters Candidate M.Ad.Ed.
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