Why I Quit Being A College Professor After One Semester
At my core I am an educator, a teacher, a coach. It is what I love more than anything. I love learning about something, mastering it, and teaching it to others. I love the look in their eyes when a new idea or concept is understood for the first time, the smile on their face when they feel loved and appreciated. Because of this I have looked for and found opportunities to teach and coach every chance I get. That is why I produce all the content I do and why 98% of it I give away for free.
Last year I decided I wanted to work at UVU in the Business school as a professor. I knew the pay wasn’t going to be much for an adjunct professor teaching just one class but I figured it would be a great way for me to give back to the community and hopefully make a difference to the students in my class. I decided that I was going to give it 100% no matter what.
I went through the hiring process and I took the role to teach “Effective Business Presentations.” A perfect class for my skill set. What I wasn’t prepared for was the “training” that I was put in and the program I was supposed to fall in to. I had huge ideas about how the class would be taught and how I would make sure that the students got the absolute best education possible. I was pretty disheartened though when the director over the business school informed me that I had to use 90% of the materials that were pre-prepared for me. I was allowed to do 10% of what I wanted.
I could lie and tell you that I decided to quit as a professor at the end of my semester teaching but I actually decided right there. I decided that I would teach the class how I wanted and if that meant I was a one semester professor then so be it. I just smiled at the director and told her I understood.
As the semester went on a few things were very clear to the students right away.
Number 1- This professor was not like any others they had before
Number 2- This class was nothing like the rest of the classes they had taken
Number 3- This was going to be one of the most memorable and important classes of their college careers.
I read about Yale University and how they started to adapt real life into their courses. Instead of reading out of a book or having an unqualified person teach about several different aspects of a subject, they brought in experts from everyday lives that were excelling in their careers and they each took a turn as guest speakers teaching real life applicable information to the students. I decided to do the same.
The day I was supposed to teach from a textbook about interviewing for a job; I decided instead to call on my friend Ryan Grover, the former CEO and founder of MyFastPC and have him teach it instead. As the founder and CEO of that company he had interviewed over 600 applicants and had hired over 150 employees.
The day I was supposed to teach about structuring a sales presentation I had my friend Megan come in and teach it instead. She was not only one of the top realtors in Miami for a time but she set up and ran an entire sales team that presented about time shares and closed 100’s of clients per week.
I repeated this pattern over and over bringing in some of the brightest minds in all of Utah to help these kids understand “real world” applications to presenting. I taught them about the 6 P’s of presenting to make you a dynamic speaker:
I taught them how to show up and be a dynamic speaker. They took to it and every single student improved dramatically over the course of the semester.
About three weeks into the semester one of the students came up and asked me when I was going to input the grades into the system like all of his other classes. I told him I wasn’t going to because in real life you don’t know where you stand with others so you should always do your best regardless. I thought it was a nice touch to make my class more applicable to the real business world, he did not. After a mild protest I told him to suck it up and deal with it.
I had 3 rules in my class and I decided that I would grade each student on how well they took to those rules.
Rule #1 - You will be here. I can’t teach you if you aren’t in the class
Rule #2 - Stay off your phone and lap top while in class. Especially if I or a fellow student is presenting.
(This rule was my favorite as it created an atmosphere where each student had to be present. I told them if they had to text or check their phones then they could stand up and leave at any time and go do it in the hall.)
Rule #3 - You will do your best. I will know and you will know and this is how I will grade your presentations.
Overall, I loved teaching the class. The students were amazing and we had an opportunity to grow and learn together. My favorite part of teaching was the first 5 minutes of class each day I would make several students tell the class what they had done since we last met in order to live an extraordinary life. The students started looking to do extraordinary things so that they could come back and share it with their classmates. One weekend I gave a prize to the winner and one girl went sky diving while another when and bought 50 cheeseburgers for the homeless.
It wasn’t til the end of the semester when I had to put grades in that I had to go in and meet with the director of the business school again. I had to go in because I hadn’t used the system once all semester and I had no idea how to input their final grades. When I asked the director to show me how to input the grades she lost it, “Well how have you been putting them in all semester?!” she asked in a shocked voice.
I went on to explain my theory of life where you don’t know where you stand so you should always do your best. She replied, “you can’t do that!” I didn’t know what to say back so I just said, “Well apparently you can.”
I was ushered out after a short orientation on the system and I assumed I would never hear back again from the school. To the directors credit, upon getting the student evaluations and hearing many of them tell her that it was the best class they had ever had, she asked me if I would like to pick up 2-3 new classes for the next semester. I politely declined. I knew I was never meant to belong in a system that teaches us to fall in line and to keep the status quo.
I tell that story not to talk down on the university or public education but to show the ridiculousness of standing in line and following the pack. I have my communications degree from UVU, I have a Master’s degree in Real Estate development from Arizona State, I even have an honory doctorate from Mexico for our work undercover with Operation Underground Railroad. But I didn’t get my education in college, I got my degree.
I got my education leaving for a 2 year mission to a foreign country at age 19.
I got my education moving out and buying my first condo at age 22
I got my education throwing party after party in college and learning how to market an event
I got my education selling meat door to door for 3 years and learning the are of the sale
I got my education starting a T.V. show “Not on the First Date” at 24 years old quickly learning all about public relations and broadcasting.
I got my education going broke from a failed business with $120,000 debt, knowing I was going to pay off every penny of it.
I got my education when I hired my real estate coach and learned exactly what to do to be successful.
I’ve been learning and growing and getting my education every day since. Since I graduated from UVU I have read over 300 books, attended over 25 conferences, hired 5 coaches, and bought dozens of programs to give me real life mentorship and life experience.
Again, I’m not trying to downplay a college degree but if you truly want to excel in life you don’t need a $250,000 education, you just need a mentor, a desire to learn, and a little direction. So many people stop learning after they are out of school. What are you doing to better your life? What new information are you working to get in order to change the outcome that you are satisfied with?
Before you invest in anything you should invest in yourself. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and every successful CEO in the world has a mentor and a coach. Who is yours?
That being said, I want to offer this for anyone who had trouble answering the question above or is feeling inspired after reading this. I am holding a 12 week Mastermind where you will be able to join live from wherever you are in the world. I am going to be having some amazing guests on like Sean Whalen, Justin Prince, Drew Manning, Rob Sperry, and Brad Jensen. This mastermind is going to be a powerful experience for anyone that chooses to sign up.
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