I was recently asked how I got into teaching. Here’s what I’ve found success with:

[#AUTHENTICITY] I teach subjects I’m excited by, that I’ve spent time studying and I have developed a point of view on:

  1. Crafting personal narratives (eg to get a job);
  2. Crafting narrative pitches to get buy in for an idea/project/company (eg entrepreneurs looking for funding);
  3. Crafting an online presence so your content works harder for the effort you put in; and finally
  4. Using experience mapping to design with people at the heart of your business efforts

I teach to learn; it forces me to articulate what I believe, exposes me to many new people / ways of thinking, and ways my thinking has to bend & flex for all students present. (Try guiding 20 students each mapping unique journey maps for their individual theses—not your typical journey mapping workshop!)

[#RELEVANCE] I try to create more adjacent possibilities to where I am at the moment. I identify a need (ie themes surfaced while viewing final thesis presentations, in a career fair/portfolio review, talking to other teachers, department chairs, etc. to understand problems they’re facing, etc), and an audience that can benefit from my work. Then I reach out and start a discussion with thought starters and proposals.

Also, I talk to students. See what they aren’t getting that they wish they had.

[#EXCELLENCE] I take the time to craft bespoke workshops for programs/orgs to specifically address the needs of the program/students. This helps them offer something timely and highly tailored.

TL;DR Make time for what you want more of, think deeply about what you can uniquely offer, think about what different school programs might be struggling with (course curriculums don’t always keep up with the changing demands of our industry or practice), identify the doors you need to knock down, and go go go!

IF my approach doesn’t sound right for you —

  • there are many courses that typically need experts to teach predefined curriculum. (ie “UX research 101”, “storytelling for business audiences” etc). Find someone who has a role in the program you want, buy them coffee, ask about their work, build a relationship.
  • Join mentor programs and start participating in your community. Put yourself out there. Show up to give. Posi vibes tend to attract more of the same.
  • Volunteer to speak for classes.
  • Ask your boss/mentor to help identify opportunities for you.
  • Start a lunch and learn series at work.
  • Publish your thinking to start engaging in dialogues with people who might be able to give you a platform to share your perspective with others.