Online Teaching Blog

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Risk vs. Reward - Is the Return of Investment Worthwhile

Risk vs. Reward - Is the Return of Investment Worthwhile

by Lee Bennett
July 05, 2016

The past two weeks has been somewhat interesting. A family emergency has created an opportunity to spend some time in the great state of North Dakota. Presently, the stay has been positive. Although the emergency no longer exists, the circumstances require an extended stay. So, hello from North Dakota.

I began to wonder why I am continually told my specific degree and the need for my particular expertise puts me in a favorable position for an online teaching position; yet, I have received only two interviews after hundreds of applications. However, reading books, articles, and posts from colleagues, I begin to wonder if I am in over my head. In January, Dr. Babb wrote an article called “17 Surprising Reasons You Didn't Get That Online Teaching Job.” As I revisited this particular article, I found myself becoming quite cynical of this process.

With all the research, completing applications, and effort, where is there room for improvement. Going through the article, there are a items that certainly apply and are out of my control and part of my story. But there are items which drew my attention and I recognize room for improvement. This is where I begin to question the value of continuing with the process of becoming an online professor. As many have discussed, applying for a teaching job is extremely time consuming and cumbersome.

I stipulate most of you reading currently function as an online professors and traveled this path. I stipulate that some of you reading this may be in my situation, i.e., looking for online teaching positions. I thoroughly enjoy reading about or talking to colleagues who are receiving offers to teach and am happy they are doing so. But that just adds to the frustration whereas people are teaching for two, three, or four universities, and I am struggling to get my first opportunity.

The past few weeks I really begin to wonder if the value of time spent going through this process is worth the price. Perhaps it is the “I don't know what I don't know” perspective. I strive to reach my goals, but there are just times whereas I just feel I am not the person for this. It would be one thing if interviews were occurring on a regular basis, but I wonder if a 100:1 resume to interview ratio is valuable to the end result. In previous writings, I have discussed the challenges of going through this process. But I was not prepared for the psychological impact this would have. It is rather depressing going through this process, quite frankly.

Yet, I draw on my previous teaching experiences and watching people grow, both personally and professionally. It is rewarding to know that you are, or were, part of a process that made a persons life become better. While this is a valley that I currently find myself in, I recognize the greater value of being on top of the mountain. “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” Aristotle Onassis. So, as I continue to focus on the light and improve to achieve goals. For the answer to the question, at the moment, is yes, the reward is worth the time (or risk). As most of you know, teaching is a rewarding endeavor, one, presently, I wish to continue.

Thank you again for reading my writings and traveling this journey with me. I enjoy reading your thoughts and take something away from them. This week we will celebrate the birth of our nation. I am always reminded of those who sacrificed for creating a Republic that has endured many challenges for 240 years. So, while you are enjoying the holiday, where ever that may take you, please enjoy your time with your family and be safe.