When we work out loud, we:
…[start] with making [our] work visible in such a way that it might help others. When [we] do that – when [we] work in a more open, connected way – [we] can build a purposeful network that makes [us] more effective and provides access to more opportunities.” – John Stepper
The definition fits well with teaching out loud, too.
To that end, here are some thoughts about my semester so far…
Lest I depress myself too much with this post, let me start with some of my failures and then move on to the positives.
Speeding up versus slowing down
I continue to have a tough time with all the “inputs” at the start of a semester. New names and faces. Students wanting to add my classes. Collecting scantrons for the semesters' exams. Getting students set up on the various systems that I use (Remind, PollEverywhere, etc.).
Ideally, I would be able to slow myself down when I felt overwhelmed by the line of students waiting to talk to me after class. Instead, I find myself speeding up. I talk faster. I neglect to capture all the information I need to take action on the requests being made.
I've already found myself making assumptions about some of my students, something I really wish I didn't do. I have found myself able to curb this a bit when I think about each of my students being someone's child. Then, I push myself to imagine if that person was my child, how I might wish that their professor in college would treat them.
I find myself already wanting to excuse my assumption-making by telling you that I'm not unkind to my students. However, I know that even my attempts to hide my initial impressions of students will only ever take me so far.
There will always be a potential for me to not assume the best of others and react without having an adequate context of a given situation.
The first week of my business ethics class, I had a series of signs hung around the classroom that asked various questions. The students paired up and discussed each question with a partner and then recorded their answers on sticky notes.
The one in the bottom right broke my heart.
The most ethical person I know is… My Mother
What makes me consider him/her as having such integrity is… She was always considerate and honest.
That student's mother passed away last year.
I want to be doing everything I know how to do in my teaching and in my life to avoid making assumptions. I suppose that rather than trying to avoid ever thinking something, I can try to redirect those initial thoughts into ones that assume the best of my students.
It still feels awfully early in the semester to be running any victory laps.
I'm surprised that when I relax a bit about names, without absolving myself of the responsibility to learn them, that I actually do pretty good at it. I'm not there yet, but I'm working toward it.
I've been happy that in almost every class session I've had so far this semester, students have been out of their chairs and moving around the classroom. The Teaching in Higher Ed podcast episode #085 that airs on 1/28/16 has a write-in recommendation from a listener about a book on the same topic. Getting our students moving in our classes has such positive outcomes.
I'm back to playing HeadsUp in many of my classes to help them review key terms. Two of my classes are back-to-back and take place in the same classroom. One of my students from the later classroom was standing outside the class, looking in the window yesterday, chuckling at me holding my giant iPad pro above my head. She also had a look on her face like she hoped we were going to do the same thing in her class.
Discovering a new pencast workflow
Since receiving the iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil for Christmas, I've been looking forward to rethinking my pencast workflow. Doceri came off my someday/maybe technology list and wound up being what I chose to now create them.
I first spend the time drawing the pencast drawing, taking all the time I need as long pauses get edited out in the creation process, automatically. Then, I “play back” the drawing, while I add the narration. I can speed up, slow down, or pause the drawing while I'm talking.
The semester is just getting started and there's a lot I need to do to create an effective learning environment. However, we are on our way and I'm enjoying getting to know my students and each class' personality.
[reminder]How is your semester going so far? What's working? What's not working?[/reminder]