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WHAT’S My story?

When I first taught in 2012, I had ZERO help planning and teaching.

I only had a textbook and an old syllabus.

My plan was to follow the syllabus, teach one chapter per week, use the PowerPoint slides that came with the textbook, and plan three questions to stimulate class discussion.

And it worked! Or so I thought.

Students behaved. They listened, took notes, submitted assignments on time, and politely answered my questions. They even laughed at my jokes…

Damn, I’m gonna get a bad evaluation, I thought. But failing was the best thing that happened. It made me question everything, like:

  • What do students REALLY think about my teaching?
  • Do lectures work?
  • Why am I following what other instructors are doing?
  • Why don’t students read the syllabus?
  • Did established PhDs really know more about teaching than me?

I had a lot of misconceptions of higher ed. So I Googled “how to teach college.”

Oh boy. I was swimming in articles, blogs, books, videos, podcasts—each with random tips, tricks, and techniques. Try Google Docs! Flipped classrooms! Inquiry-based projects!

Where do I even begin?

But the more I read, the more one universal truth emerged—a truth I learned long ago as an advertiser and a school teacher:

In marketing, one mantra rules above all others: Know your target audience. How else will you connect with customers?

In elementary school, teachers do the same. September is all about building class community. In order to teach you, I must know you, goes a widely known adage.

Yet connecting with college students never occurred to me.

So I revamped everything and designed a system based on my marketing and K-12 experiences. 

Over the next few years, I researched these ideas, tested them in my classroom, and refined them.

The result? 90 percent of students now consistently recommend my courses. My system became a bestselling Amazon book—in 7 different education categories.

Clearly, there were many teachers out there who identified with my struggles. They wanted one authoritative, step-by-step system—not random tactics from a blog.

So, now it is my mission to share what I’ve gained with professors, instructors, and others who believe teaching is society’s noblest and most important profession. A profession that constantly teaches me every single day.

-Norman


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TRANSFORMING YOUR SYLLABUS IS THE FIRST STEP.

My ebook, CREATE AN ENGAGING SYLLABUS, shows you how to turn a boring "contract" into an inspiring document students will actually read.

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