Learning and Teaching Class: Trepidation and Thanks

As noted in a previous post, I’m co-teaching a class this semester. Specifically, I’m co-teaching EDUC-C 750 (Section 15753): Learning and Teaching on the College Campus with Dr. Joan Middendorf. I took the course two years ago and I’ve been working with Joan and her colleagues in our Campus Instructional Consulting shop for about 9 months so this is a good fit for me and a great opportunity.

Teaching a class about how to teach class is daunting. It feels like there is no room for error in a class like this because if we make blatant mistakes then it undermines our credibility in the very topic we’re teaching. I’m not sure if that’s something the students will immediately pick up on explicitly but I feel very strongly that it’s inevitable so Joan and I are going to address this on the first day of class. Not only will it address a real issue for our class but it will be good to model the kind of honesty and trust that is necessary for good teaching. Striking that balance – teaching the class while providing as good a model as possible of good teaching – will be stressful and demanding. But it will be a good challenge to face because it ensures that we will be very intentional and thoughtful teachers.

Teaching this class is also a wonderful opportunity for me and I am very thankful for it. Joan is a wonderful mentor who has been very open to my ideas and even criticism as we’ve planned the course. Despite the fact that her experience far outstrips mine, she has treated me as a respected colleague. Although I often defer to her judgment and experience, she welcomes my input even when I push back (hard) and not only explains her rationale (which is often why I’m pushing back – so I can learn from her!) but she often changes her approach based on my feedback and questions. I’m very fortunate to be able to teach a class with Joan, particularly one directly related to her experience and research!

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