Reflections of an aging quarterback
I was recently describing my current place in academia to a new faculty member. The analogy I used was the gracefully aging quarterback who is excited to be surrounded by talented and dynamic running backs. No longer able to make spectacular plays myself (hey I can be a legend in my own mind), I now call the play and hand the ball off to the new stars and let them make the headlines.
So what does this have to do with hybrid teaching? Like an aging quarterback, teaching rarely receives the same acclaim that research does. It doesn’t bring in the returned overhead, Nobel Prizes or valuable patents. Indeed, one commenter remarked that as online instructors our “…role is now more of a content curator—the one who prunes and trains the branches that extend from your expertise out into the world.” So is it any wonder that teaching is often undervalued by the academy? Why would early career faculty aspire to only be content curators?
Owning the Maestro in all of us
We are not just content curators and should roundly decry this description. We are the Maestro who conducts a symphony orchestra. Meticulously adapted after years of experience and with an intimate knowledge of our subject matter, our teaching plan is the score. As Maestro we aim to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Canvas, Kaltura, Youtube and TED talks are our woodwind, brass, string and percussion sections. Our students are the orchestra members. They are first violin, second trumpet and the percussionist with the triangle who can never hit it at the right time, no matter how much we coach them during office hours. Each aspires to be successful so they can move on to the next level and challenge. As Maestro, we create a rich learning experience where individually and collectively we realize our potential as teachers and learners.
Come the end of term take a bow Maestro – you’ve earned the recognition.