Balancing work, family and teaching on the side

Jodi

 

My friend Jodi Laurence, a healthcare attorney, just started teaching health law at night. She smiles from ear to ear when she talks about her experience in the classroom.

Have you ever thought about teaching? I don't mean teaching full time. I mean teaching during your off hours…maybe at night or on the weekends…

Those who fit teaching it into their work life balance love it. They say they are getting a lot more out of it than money. 

I've been thinking about the rewards of teaching as a side gig ever since I met Aaron Olsen at a conference in Miami. Aaron lives in Chicago, works as chief talent officer at Aon and just wrote a book called Leading with Strategic Thinking.  He told me his book idea grow out of his experience teaching at night at Northwestern University. He also told me that he and his wife, a stay-at-home mom, take turns teaching one evening a week so that someone is always with the kids. I asked Aaron how he balances work, family and teaching and he shared his insight:

Aaron_olson-6215 croppedMe: What has been the most challenging part of juggling work and teaching?

 

Aaron: The challenge is really the time, as any hour spent in class or grading student work is time I could otherwise be spending at home. It takes some mental energy too, but thankfully the class I teach is directly related to my day job so it isn't switching gears that much.

 
Me: Do you feel as if you need employer buy in to have a side gig as a teacher?
 
Aaron: Yes, I went to my employer to get explicit permission when I was first approached by the university. We have a "no moonlighting" policy at work but this was seen as a case that was complimentary to what I do for the firm. In fact, they really liked the idea since it reinforced our company's brand as a thought leader in the field.

 
Me: Did your wife always teach or will this help her keep her foot in the door of the working world while raising kids?
 
Aaron: Jeanne does use her teaching as a way to stay active professionally. It helps her maintain her network and is also a way to keep current in her field.

 
Me: Do you and your wife intentionally take turns teaching? How does this affect your home life?
 
 
Aaron: We trade off class terms over the year – I teach in the winter and spring, she teaches in the fall. The classes we teach are in the evening, so one person is at home with the kids while the other is out. We've also gotten a sitter for one night a week so that we still get some time to ourselves or to stay on top of errends.

 

In the past few years, landing a side hustle at a local college or university has become easier with schools paring back on full-time faculty and using more adjuncts. Now, as the school year kicks in, a growing number of professionals are juggling side gigs as teachers to gain less obvious rewards. ( I wrote about the trend in my Miami Herald column today)

 

 

* A side hustle as a teacher actually helps some professionals excel further at their full-time jobs.

* Others find that by teaching something they are passionate about, they are happier in all aspects of life

* For a professional who wants a new challenge, being on a college campus with young people asking smart questions helps improve skills, expand networks and could even improve marketability.

 
* Knowing you teach a course, people at work are more likely to turn to you for advice on your expertise on a particular subject.
 
* Professionals find teaching keeps them current and student questions offer them insight.
 
 
Keep in mind that balancing work, home life, and a side job as a teacher can be tricky. Class time is just one component. Teachers must prepare a syllabus, lesson plans and a grading system. According to the American Association of University Professors, the typical equation for calculating preparation and grading time for a three-credit course is three hours for every one hour of class time. It’s safe to assume that adjuncts put in a good 135 hours during a semester. That's a lot of your free time so make sure you're up for it!
 
Those who do it say it's well worth sacrificing free time for the benefits they receive.
 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *