Online Teaching Blog

Best practices, tips & tricks, and career advice—served up fresh



by Lee Bennett
March 08, 2016

Hello my name is Lee and I am both honored and pleased to be writing about my journey through the higher education forest. As I have said recently, I do not expect to have the right answers, but will share with you what I have done throughout this process. It is that discussion that I am looking forward to. That is to say the replies I receive from my blog may be of assistance to others myself included. I have learned quite a bit from just reading the posts on the Make a Living Teaching Online Facebook page. So it is my desire and sincere hope that “we” can help others not only become better professors, but help others who are first time professors.


I am not married, nor have any children; therefore, I am at somewhat of an advantage to my learned colleagues. I am fortunate to have the spare time as opposed to the soccer matches, hockey games, cheer leading, or other activities that child consume parents with. I am often reminded as I travel this path of a student colleague of mine while attending Upper Iowa University. I was amazed, knowing how many hours it took to complete the assignment, to learn she had four children with numerous varying activities involving the kids. She certainly earned my admiration and respect. And then I learn of the grueling long hours professors put it to meet student and university needs.

I tell that story to say this: there is a great deal of commitment and dedication that must occur to accomplish success. When I began my journey to seek a professors position, there were a few things that raised my eyebrow. First, I had to come out of my comfort zone. I am unemployed after spending my adult profession in some level of government. There are opportunities that I was not aware of that seem somewhat attractive now. Secondly, I needed to re-evaluate my beliefs of being an online professor. There is a great deal of commit to the profession and that takes away from family life; which I am trying to improve on. So, then, there is the risk vs. benefit factor. Obviously, I have made that commitment to higher education and, more importantly, I believe, the students.

So, what have I done lately. Nothing really, just kicked back....OK, that's not exactly true. As a former Captain on a fire department, I learned that a good leader with exploit opportunities for improvement, yet provide strong support when things go good. In that spirit, I can tell you that Sarah Miller turned out to be a person who helped me kick off the journey. Her and I attended a class at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD. During the Emergency Management Leadership course, we were required to research a topic, write about it, and then present to our colleagues from around the country. It is during this time, that Ms. Sarah and I began discussions regarding online professor jobs. It is Ms. Sarah that introduced me to the Make a Living Teaching Online Facebook page.

It has been a joyous ride since then, truly remarkable. First, on general advice, I sent my information to The Babb Group. They informed me that someone would contact me regarding my curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter (CL). Enter stage left Ms. Sheila Fry, who bore responsibility of writing my CV. Approximately two weeks later, I received a final CV draft that made a dirt mound appear as a bed of roses. I did not see a CV prior to this nor an academic CL, which was extremely well written by Ms. Dani Babb herself (that took me for a loop I'll tell ya). Nonetheless, impressed and excited, I was a rookie newly armed with the ammunition I needed to become an online professor!!! And then the good ship Lollipop came into port and took me to the Island of Reality.

Since then, I have engaged in numerous conversations and paid close attention to my learned colleagues on Facebook. Quickly I have learned that patience and I are going to become rather close; perhaps engaged – if I am to retain any resemblance of sanity. After submitting a lot, and even more, resumes to universities, I have yet to get “the email”. But that's alright, here is what I did to improve my opportunities. I don't know what I don't know. Therefore, I reached out to Ms. Dani and after a sound discussion, I became involved with the custom search program. I continue to research opportunities, but I have benefited from the custom search program as well. Additionally, there are articles others post that I do glance over to see if something catches my eye – more so than not, they do. And soonest, I am receiving the Dani Babb book, which I am looking forward to reading.

So, my friends, this is the first part of my journey down Online Professor Drive. I am unaware of where this journey will lead; yet, am excited to find out where it leads. I owe a huge thanks to Ms. Sarah Miller, Ms. Sheila Fry, and Ms. Dr. Dani Babb for getting me to this point of the journey. It is their advice, patience, understanding, personality, professionalism, and true desire to help someone like myself succeed. Again, please comment and express your thoughts. I do not have all the answers, I just have the answers I know. But I am willing to share if it helps someone avoid pitfalls that I or others have endured. Thank you so much for allowing me to share my thoughts and I will be back in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, please be safe and enjoy time with your family!!