One mistake I made in my first year as an educator is getting locked in to the classroom. I focused on what I was teaching rather than how I could best engage my students in active learning. Engaging students in graphic design that is all around them should be an important part of each and every class in your program. You need to GET OUT of the classroom and into the world where students see design at work, living and breathing in the space it was designed for. Take you students on tours, see lectures, show podcasts, have collection assignments where students have to bring in or collect examples of design to share with their peers.
This is especially important in the first year of a program, where students know little about what is out there for them. Exposing them to printing facilities, local design studios big or small and business that support hands on craft is important to building their knowledge and enthusiasm. Visiting alumni in their working environment can have a great effect on student outlook. It helps them picture themselves working in the industry once they complete their studies and focuses them on their goal.
It is not just about your students; you need to get out also. If you are an adjunct with a full-time career, your time can be limited but don’t let yourself get stuck with tunnel vision. As time constraints and routines of life limit your experiences, you have a smaller perspective to offer your students. Do what you can explore your local design community, attend creative events and contribute to the design community. Build connections that you can use to help create real-world assignments for your classes or bring them into you class a fresh perspective to your critiques.
Ultimately your enthusiasm for the design world that surrounds you will be reflected in your students. Continue to submerge them in design, good and bad so you can use it as examples and create conversation; create discord. This will provide your students with the kind of knowledge, textbooks and lectures can not offer.