5 Things I've Re-Learned as a Non Tenure Track Instructor

I love teaching, I love tech, and I love teaching online. While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for eighth grade, working with adult learners who have fully realized goals has been incredibly rewarding. Over the last year, I've taught one class three times and here are five things I've learned:

  1. There is a huge engagement difference between online only courses and online/hybrid courses. While I'll never claim one to be better than the other, the engagement and relationships that were built in the hybrid section of my course improved outcomes. We only met twice in the entire eleven weeks (on Saturdays nonetheless) but we were able to build a community that has been difficult to replicate in online courses.

  2. Life is too short to not do what you love. Given my background as a middle school teacher, I have been teaching courses in my alma maters K-12 teacher prep program. While I know the content like the back of my hand and I enjoy teaching the course, it is no longer my bread and butter, if you will. If given the opportunity, teach what you love. It's a side gig: make it what you want.

  3. The "aha" moment never gets old. As an instructional designer, I see less and less light bulbs going off and more and more skeleton frames. But man, when it all comes together for a learner and you can see it in their work or their face or their words - there's nothing better than that.

  4. Rarely are bridges worth burning. I loved my job as an academic advisor at my alma mater. I loved my coworkers, I loved helping future teachers reach their goals, I loved all of it. But I didn't love that I wasn't using my degrees to their fullest potential. When this instructional designer job opened up, I was heart broken to put in my notice but elated to sink my teeth into my new love. Working as an NTT instructor has given me the opportunity to maintain those relationships and connections at a job I loved. This is pretty idyllic, I know; not every workplace has an extreme part time gig you can pick up on the side. But it has been an unexpected perk.

  5. Working two jobs sucks. Even though the pros outweigh the cons, you've got to be on top of your time management or the suck will weigh you down.