Wednesday, November 2, 2011

To Sir (Bill) with Love

 I remember when I was in high school I  took one of those 'career tests' - I believe it was called the Kuder Preference Test. The results indicated that I should either be a lawyer, an actor or a teacher. Being rebellious, I chose to study biology after high school.  Those four years of university may have got me slightly off track, but I firmly believe that I had to get it out of my system. It was important for me to prove that I could study the sciences and do well. 

Of course, today I am a lawyer, and I spend a  portion of my time teaching our managers - albeit over the phone using WebEx, but teaching nonetheless. Dr. Kuder was right - I really enjoy practicing law and teaching.  Not so sure about the acting part, though.

Bill has been teaching for eons - I think over 30 years in the management school at University of Buffalo and a bunch of years at UB's Law School. He's masterful. For one thing, he knows the material cold. For another he's got memory that rivals anyone I know. But, mostly it's his depth and breadth of knowledge that makes him special. And, the students can tell right away that he's 'one of a kind'.

Teaching at night presents unique problems - mostly having to do with keeping the students engaged and awake. It's important to keep the lecture lively. I started teaching a evening class to some Human Resource professionals last night at Empire State College. It's kind of involved as to why I'm teaching this, but I'm really glad that I had the opportunity.

As I drove to class, I started wrestling with self doubt. Did I make enough notes to myself; did I cover the chapter thoroughly; should I have prepared more questions?  So, as I drove down the 33 I called Bill - because I  knew he would PUMP ME UP! And he did. He gave me the necessary pep talk and made me feel better. He should probably teach other husbands how to do that. I am so lucky that he's ALWAYS in my corner. ALWAYS!

I was fairly confident about the material but I didn't have a good grasp of how long it would take me to get through it. Between my fast talking and my underestimation, we finished 40 minutes early. I don't think the class had a problem with that. 

I'm ashamed to admit that I enjoyed teaching the class. I liked being 'on stage' and I loved when I could make the students laugh.  Come to think of it, maybe Kuder was three for three.


  1. Teaching can be a blast! Its always a real high when you see someone who was stuggling to get something right finally get it! The look on their face makes it worth all the sweat (sometimes literally) and the confidence boost is palatable. I've taught non-financial people how to do business budgets and read financials but my biggest kick comes from teaching kids (and adults) at the karate dojo (my apologies for the puns). I don't know if I ever took that test but it would be interesting to compare it to what I do today.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Mark! Love that you know what I'm talking about, too!