Like my colleagues who often wish to attend CTL sessions but find it difficult to fit “one more thing” into their busy weeks, I, too, have found it a challenge to keep up with certain tasks. And one of them is this blog. But I promise, just like my students tell me when they’re late turning something in, I really have been working on stuff that relates to Teaching & Learning! There has been the usual: teaching, grading, facilitating, developing, meeting, writing (other stuff than here), organizing, and designing (yes, I still do that – it’s part of my DNA and helps me “see” things better). Which is why I probably was so engaged in a special project that I thought I could share with you here.
Non-Astonishing Teaching Tips
This is a project I had in the back of my mind for years. It’s one of those ideas that was inspired by the question – “What happens to all those ideas people write down on post-its at such-and-such a meeting about teaching?” At Mott, we’ve held four years of the Great Teachers Retreat, and gathering these Non-Astonishing Teaching Tips was sort of a subtle activity that would go on throughout the 3-day event held on the snowy shores of Higgins Lake “up north” in Michigan. Along with other opportunities where faculty shared through similar activities, combined with research, editing, and adding of more tips, I was ready to begin the next step… determining how these could be shared.
In the end, I went with a card deck. The final design includes 55 teaching tips with room on the back to write your own variations or notes, 10 blank cards (for writing your own tips), and 12 stickers (just because stickers are fun!). Four common categories were identified and include: Learning, Engage, Attitude, and Prepare. They come in a nifty slide-open box and I ask the new owner to share with us any feedback on how they might come about using these! Funding for printing these came through a generous grant from the college president’s office.
Some feedback that has come in already include creating card games, posting “tip of the week” or month in our college communications portal, having a contest for new tips, creating a jeopardy-style game, and more! I think what is most satisfying to me is knowing that I work with a group of creative, thoughtful, and dedicated educators, many of whom contributed to this deck of tips without even knowing it. But even more so, that even the most seasoned educator has something to learn, and the most green educator has something to share about teaching in a way that helps support student success. And that, my dear colleagues, is what it is really all about!
Side note: I loved having the opportunity to lead a lively roundtable discussion on the topic of Non-Astonishing Teaching Tips and sharing these cards during the May 2018 NISOD conference in Austin, Texas.