Over the years, I have taught accounting and finance classes at Fitchburg State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Franklin Pierce College. When asked, “Why do you teach?” it prompted me to think about the profound impact teaching has had on me and the ongoing benefits to my profession as a certified business appraiser. It is especially top of mind as I take on a new teaching challenge in 2023.
My Teaching Journey
It started back when I was in the Army. Ongoing learning was a focus in the Army as we would teach a new skill in a classroom setting. Then early in my corporate career, I expressed the desire to improve my presentation skills. A seasoned professional advised me to teach, noting that teaching required you to learn the materials and develop an effective way to present the material. I took his advice and started teaching at Franklin Pierce University in their adjunct college, teaching working adults on weekends.
In my early days of teaching, I stayed one chapter ahead of the students, working to master the content and plan the lectures. Over time, I became more comfortable with the process and particularly enjoyed thinking on my feet as students asked about concepts or in some cases, questions out of nowhere!
I then started teaching in the evening program for undergraduate students at Fitchburg State University, my alma mater, teaching every course in the accounting curriculum. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, getting to know the accounting majors as they progressed through the curriculum. I still remember writing a job recommendation for an undergraduate accounting student who went on to get his MBA and CPA, working for PWC. Witnessing this accounting student’s professional advancement and experiencing students in their ‘aha’ moments when concepts clicked, those are wonderful rewards of teaching at night and on weekends while working full-time. Teaching at my alma mater was a special form of giving back to a community that had helped shaped me.
As many people know, I like to talk. That is another reason why I teach. I enjoy sharing ideas and hearing what the students think. It has been particularly rewarding to teach veterans, single mothers, and first-generation college students. They have a thirst for learning, a palpable desire to succeed and a commitment to actively participate in the learning process. Plus, they bring their life experiences to the classroom for a dose of reality and welcome perspective.
When the pandemic hit, teaching changed. While the learning objectives and homework assignments remained the same, the delivery mechanism and how to present effectively changed. It was imperative that I adapt quickly to improve my delivery, offering a quality learning experience to the students amid so much change and uncertainty. Like others, I was learning on the fly on how best to teach virtually including engaging and communicating with the students. Recording classes and incorporating on-line discussion boards to help students throughout the course became part of my teaching style.
Mastering Curriculum Development – The Next Level in My Journey
The pandemic led to the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) seeking to take its continuing education program to the next level. As a member of the IBBA’s education committee, I had taught multiple courses in the past at the IBBA’s annual national conference which I had very much enjoyed. The organization is a collaborative organization that places great emphasis on continued education, which I respect and thoroughly embrace as a professional. But this was, once again, a learning opportunity for me. The IBBA sought a higher-level education opportunity for its experienced members who had earned their highest certification, Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation. This was taking my teaching to the next level as I was developing the curriculum in addition to teaching as the Master’s Program launches this year. This was another milestone in my teaching journey as the curriculum is mine.
The Intersection of Teaching & Presenting as a Business Appraiser
I have attained the highest level of certification available for a business appraiser. That is not by accident, but as I reflect on my journey, that is fueled by my desire for continuing to learn and improve. While it is essential that I stay current in my profession, I have benefitted greatly from my teaching experiences. I have gained the skills of documenting and presenting large amounts of information in a clear and logical manner, which has served my clients well. Being able to explain complex concepts in a clear and understandable way helps students learn. It also helps attorneys and judges understand how I have arrived at the business valuation presented in a document and in a courtroom.
As I reflect on that advice received many years ago that I should teach to hone my presentation skills, I am struck by how that advice has affected my life. While I know I will continue to push myself to learn and grow, I am humbled right now to prepare and deliver these master courses as part of this 10-month virtual cohort learning program for experienced and credentialed business brokers looking to take their careers to the next level. My immediate challenge is to foster structured discussion, keep the pace, and deliver tremendous value to accomplished business brokers. And as I have learned over the years, I will learn a great deal from them to refine my curriculum, improve my skills, and continue my teaching and learning journey.
Why do I teach? It is rewarding, challenging, and keeps me on my toes.
Louis J. Pereira has completed the most intensive training in the country and earned the highest designations available in the field of business valuations. There are fewer than 200 Certified Business Appraisers in the country and Lou is one of them. In New England, Louis J. Pereira is one of only a dozen having earned the rigorous designation of Certified Business Appraiser. Learn more about Lou Pereira here.
When Values Matter.