Beki Grinter

A Teaching Philosophy

In DRAFT on September 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, a piece on teaching philosophy.

I resonate very strongly with the idea that teaching is a performance and the more you put in, the more the students and instructor get out of it. I think that my viewing it as a performance is why I get so nervous right before the first class. Who are the audience? Will they respond? They’re a new to me. The source of my anxieties.

And I find myself agreeing with the last part too. At the end of the semester I don’t like to say goodbye (although I am usually pretty exhausted with the semester) but the routine encounters are hard to let go of. They’ve become part of my weekly patterns. I’ve learned what to expect of them. I know who will laugh if I make joke, and who won’t. Who’ll stay behind to talk to me, and likely what they will talk about. Through their assignments and projects I get glimpses into their interests and passions, and less often insight into domains of non-passion.

I’m glad someone’s written this. Good teaching obviously begins with mastery of the material, but it doesn’t end there. It ends with a whole set of human-centered concerns, the ones that give the richness of face to face teaching its values, once those nerves abate.


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