After spending years teaching at UCLA Extension and Pepperdine University, there are some key points PR people should know if they accept a part-time teaching position:
- Teaching is a labor of love. Do not expect to get paid what you are worth in the real world.
- Don’t give a lot of written homework – it makes a heck of a lot more work for you. (Have them make a press kit – that keeps them busy through the semester.)
- Your students will love you because they find out what PR is really all about. Those with years in academia cannot impart the same real life PR imperatives or experiences.
- Some students won’t pay any attention to you. Don’t waste your time telling them to stop tweeting or texting. Spend time with those who care.
- Do not expect that all programs are created equal. You might have lesson plans way over their heads. Try to get a reading in the first few classes of where juniors or seniors really are in the communications sequence.
- Expect great writers and terrible ones. The terrible ones will probably never make it in PR. Suggest extension courses for them to catch up.
Susan Tellem is a partner in Tellem Grody Public Relations, Inc. She taught PR and writing for many years and used the teaching pay to buy shampoo and popcorn. Follow her on Twitter @susantellem.