Why teach? The three things I learnt from my students this semester

Each Wednesday night this year I rushed off after work to teach a room full of uni students whose main ambition was not to do an exam and finish their degree with as little effort as possible. Little did they know that my mission was to be an intervention to their status quo and shock them into the reality of life outside of the protective University walls!

Andrew Ford, Social Star, Monash University


It's not easy to do this extra gig, but I fully believe it's worthwhile. I sure don't shlep myself to the outer suburbs and back again at night, when I could be finishing work, going to the gym or god forbid having a drink with friends for nothing. I definitely get something out of it (...and it's sure not for the pay...), so what's the juice?

Many people consider doing some part-time lecturing so before you sign up have a read of my insights into the three main benefits of teaching.

1) Great Contacts

Teaching at University has been a passion of mine since I finished my Masters of Entrepreneurship at Swinburne way back in 2010. I was invited to teach in the Masters of Marketing program to add a dose of reality to the student's theory as I was running all sorts of cool marketing programs at Sensis. Check out the Paint Party story!

One of the benefits was that's where I met Lynn, my partner at Social Star, and one of my closest friend which was a great bonus! We kept in touch for many years after uni as friends and 2014 she joined the company and has been our greatest asset for the last four years.

I have also picked up many clients from mature age students and their referrals.

2) It helps your Career

I believe teaching, like most careers, is a calling. You either love it or hate it. I love it. I think it's the chance to influence someone's life for the better that gives me the buzz or perhaps it's just my ego inflation from standing at the front of the room :) Either way, I enjoy the experience so take the opportunity when I have time.

This year I was invited to co-teach a very cool subject called Career Dynamics at Monash Caulfield. It's the first subject I have heard of that is an elective for the entire school and fully focussed on getting students a job when they graduate. Of course, I encouraged them to #BYOB but that's another story!

The benefit for my company is I got to test out my personal branding strategies on a group of students to see if I could engage them. Much harder than my usual clients who seek me out - great learning! Now I am applying some new techniques to make branding even easier for our clients at Social Star.

3) It Builds Your Character

Each week when I get off the train from teaching uni at Monash Caulfield, I am confronted by the frustrating sound of chillout music, sights of people drinking cold beers and smells of freshly cooked burgers and fries. Damn you, whoever put a bar along the fenceline of that platform 10!

When the weather is fine, of course, I would rather be having a few beers with mates, but I chose to help others instead because I fully believe that doing something for others, above your own needs, builds character. This isn't something business people discuss as much these days, but if you look to the leadership of the last century where your word was your credibility, you gave back because it was the right thing to do and you stood up for what was right - I feel a lack of charcter in many of our leaders.

Teaching this group of students isn't going to change the world, but if I change one of their worlds then it's all worthwhile. Just maybe I will make up for all the bad stuff I have done!

Hope you enjoyed the blog,


P.S. If you haven't checked out my new podcast have a listen to my personal journey here.