Everything I Needed to Teach, I Learned in Real Life

Isn’t there a book called “Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten?” I hope so because that is where I am going with this post.

I had the opportunity to teach at Franklin University as an adjunct professor for about 5 years. I found teaching to be more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. For an intuitive , internal processor, putting my thoughts into intelligible  words – well, let’s just say I learned more than my students did.

With a finite amount of time to spend together, what I felt was I really need to convey to the students was what most significant for their careers – in any communications field. Of course design principles, typography, photography and layout are all topics that can be learned from a textbook and hands-on experience. Those topics are a passion of mine. But, what I found intrigued the students most were real-life stories and business experiences and my conclusions from those experiences – and I shared them often off-the-cuff.

Here is one topic I remember addressing:

“Creativity is GREAT! Being a brilliantly-talented designer is wonderful. But, if you can’t meet deadlines, or do honest billing, or finish projects, or return phone calls, all that talent is,  as my mom would say, ‘not worth a hill of beans.’  What matters, in any field you go into, is how you treat people.

  • Tell the truth (if something goes wrong or you make a mistake, tell it like it is)
  • Keep promises (meet deadlines and don’t over commit)
  • Be someone your clients/boss/co-workers can count on

And, that is what really matters. I really believe it and needed to teach it.