Some may know (some may not) but along side my main employment of being a radio presenter, I also teach at various universities. Passing on my 15 years of radio knowledge to students who have a keen interest in media. I am actually surprised how I ended up being so involved with teaching.
Teaching was something I never really gave any thought to during my adult life. As a school pupil I was not really interested in my education. I got through secondary school with very average grades, I knew I had the ability to achieve better, but just was not that motivated enough (in class or at home). That is not me blaming my school teachers or my mother, it just how it was.
I certainly felt more 'at home' when studying media at college between 1995-1996. Though my tutors were a little too laid back and it felt more like a laugh than any form of learning process. None of my tutors were really those I looked upon as someone who inspired me. Due to that, I didn't really have an interest in taking my education further, so after a year at college I decided to work a normal mundane job and not bother with university.
I feel it was important to mention the above because we always see teachers as people who have always have had a hunger to teach...it is not always like that.
How did my teaching begin?
In the summer of 2006 I was working at a radio station in Nottingham. For some reason I wrote to the University of Derby to see if they would like me to come in and talk to students for an hour or so about how to get into radio. I'll admit now, I saw this as a money making scheme to talk about something I could ramble on about for hours!
After sending an initial email to the head of department I was emailed back within a few days with that almost standard reply of ''thanks for the email, we don't have anything, but we'll let you know if anything does come up''
A few weeks later I had a phone call from the university who had been let down by a radio lecturer and they asked if I would be interested in co-hosting a semester (12 weeks) full of work. Two classes of 3 hours in duration. It was not what I had expected and felt very nervous because of my lack of academic experience. Actually it was ok, because I had another lecturer with me (teaching about 30 students) and I was quite comfortable with it.
As each academic year went on more hours were available and the money side was not as important as I was enjoying the work and felt a real buzz about the job I was doing.
The radio industry is a very insecure place, one day you could have a job, the next it could be gone. Over the past few years, radio stations have cut their budgets and simply there are not as many jobs for presenters (like me) as there used to be. Many people I know have been caught out by losing their job without expecting it and have not known what to do next.
Many radio presenters are like footballers with the attitude of 'its all we know, its all we have done'. We don't seem to plan for the future.
So I really see this as a back up career. When the inevitable happens....(because it will) I now have something else to fall back on. I hope to work in radio for many years to come, but I need to put plans in place for the future.
There is a great sense of achievement in teaching. It is a wonderful feeling when you take a class full of students and they get something out of it. They thank you at the end of the session because they enjoyed it. They talk to their friends about what a good module it is, what a good lecturer they have (ideally). In years to come when that student has got the career they dreamt of, I want them to think of the skills they picked up during their time at university. Remembering the sessions were the kick start they needed to make a great career for themselves.
Most of all it is getting the student to feel a sense of achievement from something they made with their own creative minds. Many students I teach have little or no knowledge about radio. By the end of the course they have made something creative from the tools and skills I have taught them. They will take those skills remember them forever and hopefully develop them.
3 years ago I passed a course equal to a masters degree in teaching. I am now a member of the Higher Education Authority. Who would have thought a guy whose highest GCSE grade was a 'C' in drama was now responsible for teaching at a university? I am sure they made a mistake!
So October 2006 was my first experience of teaching. Here we are in 2012 and I am still working for the University of Derby and also have work with Birmingham City University where I have been involved in teaching for two years.
I'll be 33 next month, and to have been involved teaching at University level for six years is really rewarding. Not sure many people could say the same?
So whatever career you are doing (or had previously). Use those skills and pass them on to students. Universities are BUSTING to get industry people through the door to talk about their experiences and share ideas. Certainly now fee's have increased, they need to have the best people in-house to pass on their knowledge.
It could be something like hosting a one hour guest speaker slot..... or maybe a full blown 12 week course like I was thrown into!
I suggest finding out a university that hosts a course in your chosen skill set. Find out the head of department and make contact. Remember also many universities teach in the evening too, so there should be plenty of opportunity for you to get involved if your normal working hours are quite busy.
I know what you are thinking and you want to ask......'how much money will I get?' . Well roughly for teaching at University you can expect to earn £30 per hour. Most lessons are 3 hours. You'll also get holiday pay too. That sounds a lot of money (and it is) but remember this will generally go towards the preparation and any marking!
I really do enjoy this part of my work you know. I have met some really great students, some who have really great potential and I know will be a success in the media.
I'll post another blog soon about what to expect in the early days of teaching and how to get the best out of students and to motivate them to achieve MORE! So please hit follow if you have found this of interest.
Hope this has given you an insight to a career that you may not have considered just yet?
You can follow me on twitter @AndyMartindale
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