As Storm Ophelia battered the island of Ireland and hit the west and north of England, I was making a whistle stop visit to London; a London hiding under a strange yellow blanket of mist (apparently also Ophelia-related). I had been invited to reprise my day of lecture and classes on strategic communication from last year – bringing some of my practical experience of in house and consulting/agency communications to the excellent MSc course being run out of the University of Liverpool’s impressive London campus.
Not for the first time after an intensive day of teaching, I end the day tired but invigorated. I find the process of teaching huge rewarding; from the preparation through to the performance element and live feedback; the questions, the comments, the challenge. I am on my way home – which always makes me happy – but excited for another day in the classroom tomorrow, when I swap Liverpool University for Liverpool John Moores University; and London and for Liverpool.
I am grateful for the opportunity to develop my teaching experience and to share some of my seventeen and a half years – is it really that long – of working in communications, not to mention my five years before that of writing for local newspapers and the university newspaper. There is something raw about teaching that I haven’t felt when doing presentations or speeches throughout my career. It reminds me of the nervous energy you feel when going to the theatre; there is something edgy about it; the delicious sense that anything could happen, any question could be asked, any debate started. I really love it and am glad to be able to do more and more of it. Like all things in life, there is no substitute for practice, and my recent run of weekly lectures and seminars in Liverpool have really helped me build confidence and my own style.
On the “areas for improvement”, I know I need to stop saying “that’s a great question” or answering an insightful intervention with “that’s a really interesting thought”. I still have a way to go yet but I’m having a ball. In the meantime, I will keep working at it; keep practicing and hope to find some better responses that don’t make me sound like a politician during a Question Time special; answers on a postcard please.