It’s been almost a month since I was officially appointed to teach students taking the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) UK program at the University of Nairobi.
For everyone who knows me, I’ve been talking about how I want to teach. I love it actually. I also silently nursed a desire to become an Adjunct Professor at my alma mater, IE Business School. As I dreamt of the big destination, I started to take baby steps by launching free and paid online courses this year. I also started to spend more time training comms teams in corporate organisations.
I believe all of this prepared me to take on the part-time lecturer role. I have absolutely enjoyed engaging with my students and learning from them too. The experience has stretched me but it has also taught me a number of things which I want to share with you today.
Be committed to your professional development.
It’s 2022. It’s unacceptable for you as a Comms/ PR professional not to know your stuff. I know sometimes there is a ‘gut’ element to the work we do but the truth is Comms & PR has principles. If you don’t know these principles, it will show in your results. This is why you must be committed to your professional development.
It’s not ok that you don’t know the science behind creating an effective communications plan. It isn’t great for you not to understand how to measure and evaluate the results of your communication activities. If you’ve been winging it so far, this is the time to gain knowledge.
Apply what you learn.
One thing I love about being a CIPR Lecturer is that I engage with students who are Comms/ PR Managers at reputable organisations across the continent. They come into class with real life problems and I use the principles I teach in class to show them how they can solve those problems. What this means is that it is not enough for you to gain theoretical knowledge. You must apply what you learn. It is in the application – within and outside your current role – that you can begin to gain mastery.
Be open to feedback.
For my first class, the CIPR course lead was present. All the pressure! Lol. Actually, it was a great class. At first my heart skipped a beat because this was my first class. What if I didn’t meet her expectations? What if I didn’t engage the students enough? There were many questions in my head but I was determined to give it my best shot as I always do. Like I said, the class was great.
After the class, I reached out the CIPR course lead to get her feedback. What could I have done better? She gave me some useful pointers which I was grateful for. You see, she has been doing this for 20 years. Who am I not to learn from her expertise and experience? Teaching looks easy when you’re on the other side. This experience has made me appreciate all my school teachers even more!
The point here is – you cannot know it all. There’s always room to grow and learn more. So be open to feedback and ask for it!
Make excellence your DNA
If there’s one thing that I won’t change about myself, it’s the lengths I go to deliver excellent work. It was not different for this engagement. While I already knew the content for the subjects I was teaching, I had to go the extra mile to get relevant case studies and examples to engage my students with. I also needed to read the assigned text for the CIPR UK program to ensure what I taught was in alignment with all that was touched on in the text.
After the content, I paid special attention to my slides. I don’t joke with my slides. They are an essential engagement tool. Beyond that however, it was important to me to help my students practically apply what I was teaching them and that informed the post-class tasks that I gave to them.
Being a part-time lecturer for the CIPR UK program at University of Nairobi has been a rewarding experience for me so far. From previous cohorts, there have been testimonials of promotions and students gaining more confidence in their work because of the knowledge they gained.
If you’re looking to upskill, I totally recommend this program at the University of Nairobi. And the great thing is that it is virtual. You can learn more about it here. Who knows, I may see you in class one of these days 🙂
PS – If you’d like me to train your Comms team (in person or virtually) or have an end of year strategy session that will allow them to hit the ground running powerfully in the new year, you can send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org.