Notes of a Wannabe ‘Professor’

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My first stint as a teacher was eventful. Having been tortured by by teachers myself, there were a few things I had gone mentally prepared with.

  • If you are boring, students will sleep.
  • Though they have payed to attend class, its probably me who is getting paid more to teach. They know that.
  • I would be younger than most of the class.
  • I am not qualified to be a teacher as per Indian standards.
  • Its the fag end of the year for all students and they would want go back home!
  • Students these days like to call themselves technically challenged; its a raging fad.

Having fully understood these limitations, I set out to make my course content. Social Media is not something one can find books on. There are tonnes of blogs, reading material, whitepapers and of course books like “The Community” etc. Not something that can take you through the maze like a Kotler. Unfortunately, the best social media thinkers never came down to writing a bible. Partly because of the way its changing everyday.

I approached the whole thing a bit unconventionally,

  • Students were allowed to sleep, or leave the class
  • All students were passed, and started off with 50 on 100. Based on class performance they could go up or down.
  • Tweeting was allowed in class, and bonus points were also given.
  • Abuses and brickbats were allowed and were freely shown in class.
  • If there was a phone call, they were free to take the call.
  • Listen first, and then talk. For me and for the students.

I must admit, the first class I was pretty nervous, and it depended a lot on how the students would take a new subject introduced in the fag end of the year. The response was very good to say the least, partly because the slides were more visual, had references to movies, crisp and to the point.

I started off the class with this video, and it set the mood right. I had managed to sell the idea to them. This is very important primarily because conventional marketers will not see value in social media. I thank Erik Qualman to have come up with this kickass video.

Coolest moment in class: Students attending their roll call on twitter

Weakest moment: The second class, where I was too tired to teach and the class judged it.

Key Learning: Be one of them, and not a teacher. Like people trust peers, they would learn better from a peer.

17 Responses to “Notes of a Wannabe ‘Professor’”

  1. Your stint here was amazing to say the least :)

  2. vinniNo Gravatar says:

    Dude,

    I was looking for your tweets, could not find them at all! Can you trace them out and send it across to me?

  3. RhydemzNo Gravatar says:

    Loved your unconventional approach…
    The proper academic response is for the professor to be well-published, on the faculty at a prestigious college you go basically.., and be highly regarded by his peers. That may all be important, but to me what made a professor great was his/er love of the topic, the ability to convey complex topics in understandable form ,without dumbing it down or losing too many nuances contained in the topic. Passion and the gift of communication, storytelling, empathy, humor…etc. …these made for a great professor.

    I had two courses that stand out in my mind out of countless ones I took. One was a English Literacture class ,He was capable of tying the subject together in a way that made it fascinating… I still remember the details of that class including many passages of verse of poetry.
    The second was a Political Science class in which the professor literally sinked into …the class.. when he discussed the subject. he remembered nothing .. and we. .. we waited for him to come .. Attendance was full…. always .. His words uttered were Bliss for our ears..
    No cold words.. ever for students.. Free to go out and come from back door. No permissions needed. He was inquisitiv.. liked questions.. encouraged it… This was the only teacher who’s extra classes were on Demand.. Rest all Bunked!
    I remember that he had a slight speech impediment and by the end of the class, I had adopted the same mannerism. Took months to get rid of it… D most fav Professor after all.

    Could say more but I’ll let that sum up ‘Greatness’ for me…

    • vinniNo Gravatar says:

      What you say is absolutely correct. there are times when you can see through the prof and know he is no longer passionate about the subject. It could be also because of having outgrown the excitement about the subject. At this stage they should either stop teaching that subject or stop teaching altogether!

      I had a good time with English teachers too, thru out my education. The best was perhaps in 12th class, where we were taught about life and not about english! LOL!
      Twitter:

  4. Twitter Comment


    A wannabe professor…..:) Must for teachers… :) [link to post]

    - Posted using Chat Catcher

  5. Erik QualmanNo Gravatar says:

    I’m excited for you and your class! I’m glad that your found my video Socialnomics: Social Media Revolution helpful. This means a lot to me.

    Numerous Colleges and Universities across the globe are making my book Socialnomics required reading for class, which is fun for me to see!

    It looks like you are off to a great start and I wish you and your students all the best in the coming months! It’s an exciting time to live!

    Cheers,

    Erik Qualman
    Author of Socialnomics

    • vinniNo Gravatar says:

      Erik,

      Thanks a lot for commenting on my blog. Can’t tell you how kicked I am. The Socialnomics videos are a great source of inspiration nor just for the students but everyone in the Social Media fraternity.

      Loved the work you have done over the years on Social Media. Must admit, I am a great fan!

      Vinni
      Twitter:

  6. Well … I guess you should be invited to SCIT for a guest lecture on Social media marketing :) … Working on it :)

  7. JournomuseNo Gravatar says:

    Haha, was a very good read..
    I stumbled on your blog through indiblogger…Must say, there was also some sense of nostalgia, coz I remembered my days in Symbi Mass Comm when realising that the guest lecturer who had been invited was really nervous just made the class more interesting…But then again, students had little to be distracted by…no mobile facebooking or net surfing…a lot of time was actually spent in classrooms in other ‘trivial pursuits’. :)

    • vinniNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Deepthy for dropping by. really appreciate you taking time off to comment here.
      So what you are saying is, his nervousness added to the fun factor that he made a fool of himself? LOL
      Twitter:

  8. Pravin NairNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Vineet,

    How I wish I cld have been one of the students in your class :) I have been stalking you(ur blog, i mean :) ) for sometime now.basis ur feedback, I have made changes to my blog..Srry am hassling you, just need feedback on my blog..What better than THE MAN himself :)

    • vinniNo Gravatar says:

      LOL! Thats very flattering, but I am just another blogger not any authority or THE MAN like you put it :) But I am glad my suggestions helped you and your blog! Drop me a line anytime using the contact form!
      Twitter:

  9. JournomuseNo Gravatar says:

    Well…sometimes I think its a worthwhile excersice Vinni to quietly record your lectures…and then you will see what all you inadvertantly end up saying coz you are trying to appear non-chalant and really in the grip of things..it gets worse when you are lecturing a set of people not too much younger than yourself…but who think they know everything there is to the world and how it is run…thats the bane of lecturing post graduate jerks..:) i was one, so i know the Mind of a Snooty Student..;)

    • vinniNo Gravatar says:

      Yeah, There were times I could feel the energy go down, not just mine but also the class. And yes, I was lecturing a class which was mostly elder to me.
      So you were not just a snooty student, but also a lecturer? In your university?
      Twitter:

      • JournomuseNo Gravatar says:

        Hey funny how I didn’t see this reply….was reading some other post on your blog when i narcissistically rewound back to this old mail and there was a comment from you post mine that I hadn’t seen…the Menon rule is that no comment must go unchewed…so the late reply…

        Well, I had the dubious honour of being called back to my Uni nearly 8 years after I passed out to dole out the ‘mission message of goody two shoes’…but my experience of being the youngest one imparting wisdom to much older ones was way earlier in college when I took up teaching spoken English at an IATA training school…Since I was all of 19 and most students well into their 20s, I was instructed to turn out in a saree everyday to add gravitas to my teaching…Should I say how embarrassing it was to not really know how to keep it under control while teaching a bunch of mallu men who can strip a stick naked…and appear neither sweaty nor grammatically wrong and keep them ‘sufficiently entertained intellectually’…:)


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