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.
I, personally, have a love/hate relationship with this. And I’m not here to give you advice on this, outside of looking at this from a 30k foot view. Stress, in small doses, makes us stronger. The ebb and flow of the terms include stressful times, but that is exactly how we improve. Stimulus – Rest – Adaptation – Rinse – Repeat
What happened to the first week?
As we flew through the air (with a modicum of ease), the indifferent events of the week passed us by without a squeak.
But not on my watch! Two events this past week are worth bringing up again. I know, I know, there are plenty of events that deserve another shout out, but I’m only one person! …with a full committee behind me. :-/
A workshop was hosted by CTL and the Keep Teaching team this past Thursday about “Developing Instructor Presence”. Of course, being in person was a great way to learn from those talented individuals, but there is also a Canvas module you can use to glean most of that information. In these “more remote than optimal” times, showing that students have another, real person managing the course immediately engenders a sense of responsibility for their part to play. Of course there are other benefits, but I’ll let you explore those yourself.
Additionally, we kicked off our teaching Triads last Thursday as well. We put together many groups with differing goals, and from disparate backgrounds. These are small, informal, groups are designed to be a fairly casual way to think about your teaching with an extra pair of eyes (or two). They focus on whatever you want to focus on, and other instructors will most likely have some tips/pointers/ideas/tools/etc., that you can incorporate.
Btw, It’s not too late to cobble together more groups if you are interested. Contact myself (email@example.com) or Kyle Webb (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get involved. Oh, and did I mention that I have our academic dean on record saying that this would improve your annual review? Well, I did now. That, literally, can translate to more money. Let me know if you want a better sales pitch.
Thanks for putting up with my rambling! And here’s to a great Winter term!
-Tim Burnett (Instructor of Kinesiology)