When starting a new class, meeting the professor can be daunting—you know very little about the instructor, their teaching style, or what their class will be like. If this is true for brick-and-mortar colleges, it can be doubly so for online classes! But there are real people behind the computer screen who are rooting for you to succeed as a student and, eventually, as a professional in your chosen field.
To mitigate some of the apprehension of not knowing your instructors, we did a short interview with one of our paralegal professors. Dr. Daniel Marco is an attorney, and when he is not running his law practice, he is sharing his passion for the law with our paralegal program students. By his own words his second love is teaching, so spoiler alert: He definitely wants you to succeed! His answers will give you insight into what he’s like as an instructor, and a little bit of what you can expect as a student at The Paralegal Institute.
- Why did you decide to become an online instructor?
I am an attorney by trade and the practice of law is my calling in life. But I do have a second love and that is teaching. I have a passion for helping facilitating a student’s learning process. In fact, I have lectured at a number of law schools in the US and even at a law school in and a college in China! But the demands of a law practice made anything other than an occasional lecture impossible. About nine years ago I discovered the online education environment and it is an environment that quickly proved perfect for me. It allows me to pick and choose when to work on my practice and when to work on grading assignments and finals. It is just the perfect compromise for me. This also helps me be more empathetic for the time struggles of my students, most of whom work full-time.
- What is the best part of being an online instructor for The Paralegal Institute?
The best part of instructing at the Institute is the students. I have many hard-working, bright, and motivated students who are looking for a slight change in the direction of their career. I enjoy their enthusiasm and their no-nonsense approach to the courses. Also, the administrative staff is very helpful. I am not as computer savvy as I once was, computers simply accelerated by me, but the staff is always gentle and patient with me and with my students, they answer my questions and serve the students needs.
- Do you have any advice for students who are looking to excel in online classes?
Yes, I do. It’s very simple. Stop. Take a deep breath and relax. Nothing is going to register if you are tense. Always remember what class you are in. What book you are reading. What chapter of the book. And what subsection of that chapter. I always made sure to follow this little meditative process from time to time while studying in law school and for the three Bar Exams I took and passed on the first try each! For example, I might stop every few pages and remind myself that I am reading the Torts book. I am in the chapter on negligence. I am reading the section on res ipsa loquitur. That is all I have to learn here. Just taking a moment to recall where you are and what you are supposed to be learning will cut back on the noise and, in fact, will streamline your learning process. That is my advice. Since you do not have other students to kick things around with you have to keep tabs on your own focus!
- Do you have any advice for people interested in starting a career in the legal field?
Learn to love the law. Learn to explore the grey areas that pop up in every issue. Put aside your judgments of people and the way they act, in the workplace and as your clients, and evaluate everything, according to the law but not until you have thoroughly researched the issue before you. Do not take anything personally. Do not personally attack anyone. If you can do those things, you can’t help but have a successful career as a paralegal and you may want to move on to law school.
While this interview is but a snippet of the wisdom and stories Dr. Marco could share with us about his compelling life and career, we thank him for taking the time to share these answers, and hope they are encouraging to all of our students past, present, and future! It’s easy to say our instructors are invested in your learning, but Dr. Marco’s interview helps illustrate that we truly mean it.