On April 5, 2007, I conducted an interview with Jeannette Lyon, a former colleague of a friend. Ms. Lyon was a part-time real estate instructor in addition to her job as an agent, at an institution of higher learning. I was interested in interviewing her because of her age and her career choice. Currently, Ms. Lyon is taking leave from teaching to raise her new baby, but she had a plethora of information and insight into the job of college instructor. She plans on returning to collegiate learning after elevating her education through online classes while she stays at home and raises her baby.
Ms. Lyon is thirty three years old with one child. She looks very young and is very professional and polite. I was intrigued that someone so young and good looking was a college instructor. She defies many stereotypes. Due to our distance, we conducted a conference style interview with interactive web cam and voice. The quality was good and there was relatively little distraction.
The interview was very professional. I initiated the interview with an email, to which Ms. Lyon responded. She was very cordial and happy to provide me with the information that I needed.
I began the interview by telling her hello and thanking her for doing this. I let her know that I just had a few questions for her, but the interview could take a half of an hour, and I knew that she had a child at home, so if for any reason we needed to stop and resume later, we could do that as well.
She assured me that her husband was tending the daughter and that I had her full attention. I asked Ms. Lyon the following questions: 1. What does your job entail? In brief, she responded that there is a lot of prep work, especially for a first time course or new book.
It involves looking through the text, finding what is helpful, planning when to use that, and looking for other resources to aid in the learning process. That’s before the class even starts. Handouts and schedules need to be made, textbooks need to be ordered, online materials need to be in order. When classes begin, there is a period of instability as students catch on to teaching style, and drop or add the class. Many are not prepared – they come with no textbooks or no knowledge of the computer, which being a real estate agent requires that.
Throughout the quarter, the schedule must be revisited and adjusted as needed. Grading essays is very time consuming and even though there is a rubric, it is highly subjective. At the end of the quarter, there are more grading and evaluating portfolios and submitting final grades. She referred to end of quarter grading like this: “It is hell. ” 2. What are the educational requirements for the job? Some institutions will hire bachelor degree holders, but for the most part, a Master’s degree is needed or a PhD is preferred.
For some programs of study, however, little or no education is needed; job experience is what is needed to teach the course. That type of position is rare. As a matter of fact, finding a teaching position with a bachelor’s degree is becoming more difficult. Most institutions require a minimum of a master’s degree. Requirements are different for elementary, middle, and high school however. 3. What do you like most/least about your job? Most: seeing the moment on a student’s face when I finally get through to them, when they finally understand.
I also like it when I get a new text book for the class; while I’m preparing for lecture, I find new information that is useful for my career in real estate, which I can apply to my job as an agent.. Least: college kids and adults who think they deserve a grade they did not earn; reluctant students; insubordinate students. There are plenty of them! Or in my job as an agent when I lose a deal that almost went through and at the last minute I lose it. 4. What future changes do you foresee in your field? Online learning is becoming increasingly popular.
I see more of a demand for knowledge in technology, more advanced and specific degrees, with less full time positions available. And in my job as an agent I foresee change in the way customers look for their homes; for example, the Internet has changed the industry of selling homes; now customers are more likely to spend significant time in front of the computer looking at properties rather that spending their whole day going from one property to another unless they really are really interested in the properties. 5. Describe a typical day. Ms.
Lyon described her day as going into work, going to her office, checking for appointments, making phone calls, finishing up paperwork’s, providing tours of homes to buyers, signing contracts with sellers or buyers and on the days when she has class, she tries to be prepared for the class, running any last minute copies, going to class, taking role, collecting homework, giving small quizzes, telling real live situations that she went through in her job as an agent , stories that they could be useful for the student, lecturing and finishing class.
After class, there is usually interaction with individual students. 6. Do you miss teaching? Slightly. Being at home with family is best, but it makes her feel slightly less intelligent. She loves academia and is very interested in pursuing her Masters Degree in order to obtain a more secure position. 7. Why do you say that? Colleges pay you way less, there are no benefits, you will be lucky to get an office to work in; you are expected to do the same amount of work and quality of teaching as full time faculty, but you are extended no courtesies.
You get last pick of classes and there is no job security. Often, full time faculty looks down on you. You are lucky if you have any say in any of the text selection or rubric decisions or are included in departmental meetings. It is a start, but it’s a rough start. My interview was eye-opening. I really didn’t know much about the different status of faculty. I think I did an excellent job as an interviewer. I ended the interview by thanking her, wishing her luck in her future studies and career, and asking her to critique my interview (since she had stated that she had taught communications as well).
She said to me “look at me more, try not to read verbatim, and loosen up! Other than that, you did great! ” My weaknesses lie in the nonverbal communication. I know that I did not look at my interviewee much and I was actually busy trying to record every piece of information she was telling me. It is partially because I am nervous around people in authoritative positions or around people whom I view as successful. Questions: 1. What does your job entails? 2. What are the educational requirements for the job? 3. What do you like most/least about your job?