In my doctoral program I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing from graduates about their lives after getting a faculty position. There seemed to be a drastic disconnect between what I was learning and what skills I may be using when I moved into one of those positions.

I assumed I would teach like I had been taught. I would stand at the front of the room, tell students what information I wanted them to know, and then answer questions. I later learned this “Sage on the Stage” process wasn’t the best way to teach or learn.

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This post is about data. Not the data you might collect in a study, but important data to help you make decisions about teaching. (exciting, I know)

A surprising component of our brains is the ability to filter and synthesize massive amounts of data at every waking moment. In order to do this we set most of this work to “auto-complete” and magically get our answers to questions. It’s like driving somewhere and realizing your brain has already mapped it all out and gone on autopilot. Like a little black box between your ears.

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One reason I was attracted to academia was the variability in schedule; Keeping busy by ever-changing topics, revolving classes throughout the year, and guiding students through novel information.

All of this results in an occupied mind (and I need A LOT of “channels” to occupy my mind).

What ceases to amaze me is the deluge of information and activity that accompanies each term. In the ancient past (last term) the busy builds to a crescendo and we long for the sweet release of the inter-term break… Just to be shot out of the cannon into the next.

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