Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why would a PR guy love teaching so much?

I love my job(s).

By day (during the academic year), I teach Public Relations to 100 or so bright, enthusiastic, committed students at Red River College. By night (during the academic year) and during the summer, I do freelance communications consulting. Before coming to Red River, and launching my consulting business, and having my daughter, I worked in corporate PR for more than a decade - and never once, for a minute, was bored.

I love every aspect of PR work: the diversity of people, the issues, the brain puzzles, the gratification that comes with success - even the parts that are sometimes uncomfortable and rarely but occasionally terrifying.

But I love teaching here at the college, too. On a recent drive home, I started to wonder whether it was unusual that someone who was so in love with PR as a career would so quickly fall in love with teaching.

Am I fickle?  I don't think so. I worked in retail in school, and I didn't love that.

So what do teaching and PR have in common?

A lot, I think.

To me, teaching and PR both:

  1. require you to read your audiences, and challenge you to tailor your "pitch" to their interests and needs if you're going to be successful. 
  2. require you to employ persuasion -- whether it's to influence public opinion or to encourage a student to recognize the value in the curriculum.
  3. present you with challenges and puzzles every single day.
  4. provide the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their perspectives. 
  5. encourage you to take calculated risks.
  6. force you to become a more efficient communicator, and a comfortable public speaker.
  7. help you develop leadership skills.
  8. demand that you be credible.
  9. reward empathy, initiative, and extra effort.
  10. allow you to be a life-long learner.
What's not to love?


  1. It doesn't get any better than that!

  2. You suit the teaching role very well Melanie. Many of the instructors I've come to know at RRC love their job and it shows. If only we students, bright, enthusiastic, and committed as we are, weren't so sleepy after lunch on occasion. :)

  3. (Note to self: watch Berg more closely on Monday afternoons)

  4. I think the fact that you are an amazing PR pro makes you an amazing teacher for all the above reasons. One of the things I loved most about your class (and there were many) was that you never just lectured. You always engaged us in a way that made us apply what you were talking about in a practical way, and therefore, actually learn it... rather than studying the inside of our eyelids.

  5. Your passion for PR shows every single time we have a class and it's contagious! You are not just an instructor but you're a 'real' mentor. Everything there is to know about PR, you teach it to us. You made me 'love' PR even more :)

  6. Oh you guys! (Cheques are in the mail, haha!)

  7. Yes I'm with Desiree, the enthusiasm is contagious and we always have a great time. :)
    ps, I agree, watch Berg more carefully on Mondays. He's such a slacker. tee hee.

  8. Beyond the corporate PR world and your Red River classes, you also continue to inform, inspire and challenge other audiences through your blog. On behalf of your varied online followers, thank you!

    BTW, no doubt all your audiences benefit from the fact that you excel at each of the 10 points you listed above, Melanie.

  9. I have to say, having been to University first and Red River second, the teaching quality is 100 times more effective at Red River. That being said, I also love being called "bright, enthusiastic and committed"... it gives me the warm fuzzies.

  10. A teacher who enjoys what they do will definitely bring out the best in their students. I'm excited to hear that you enjoy teaching us-it makes the whole "student" experience that much more enjoyable. It also looks like I have something to look forward to in corporate pr...so excited to get out there!

  11. Wow - thanks for all the nice comments!

  12. And I should add one more reason to love teaching: students. :o)

  13. Ahh to be a life long learner, yes that is one of the keys to achieving a joyful existence.