Posted by: Ruth Moeller, Lecturer in Education and Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University.
For me it can be easy to forget why I teach and more importantly why I love to teach; its about the students, the engagement, what I learn from them as well as imparting the odd bit of knowledge to them. Can anything be as rewarding as a student saying ‘You know we talked about “X”- I tried it and it worked!’? Or a student showing you they have come up with something that is unexpected, proof of effort and that they are proud of their achievements?
I believe that teaching is an art; well informed by theory and practice but in essence it is the way it is enacted with different students, in different situations, at different times that produce diverse and often unexpected results that make it such an exciting profession.
Having said all that, it can be somewhat demoralising to have your teaching distilled into a GTS (Good Teaching Score) that is such a cold set of numbers that may or may not reflect the experience of you or your students in the classroom. A misread question, numbering down the wrong side or students unhappy with _________ (fill in the blank) can all skew the results. That doesn’t mean that we should dismiss the GTS as it is a form of feedback from students but it is important to keep it in perspective.
So with that in mind, I am starting a movement to encourage all teaching staff to take a breath and think about their teaching, their students and the positive experiences they have had during the year and to value that.
How to do this you ask?
One way can be to ask yourself three questions: ‘What have I learnt when teaching?’, ‘How have my students surprised me?’ and ‘In my teaching I am pleased with…’
You may even want to do this with colleagues, to reflect, acknowledge and celebrate what makes you keep teaching.
So complete the following sentences:
What I have learnt when teaching is…
My students have surprised me by…
In my teaching I am pleased with…
Thanks to Julie and Bronwyn for sharing their responses!
Share your thoughts in the comments!
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