Superteacher

Amid the myriad of mind-numbing meetings that teachers/professors face when they go back to teaching, there are some meetings which are more mind numbing than others.   I will say that there are also some true gems that are genuinely helpful.

Mind you, I don’t mind celebrating efficiencies in school budgets.  Yay.

I’m glad to hear the proper ways to recycle.   Thanks for the email attachments.  Really.

I’m sure there was something useful in the rambling talk about traditional Chinese medicine… although I do wonder why that was included in a school wide meeting.     He was a good speaker, but a lousy nutritionist.

At some points, I started to tune out and began writing my daily quizzes.    Thank Xena that they serve coffee, otherwise I wouldn’t  have been able to stay awake for that.

I do get extremely useful pieces of information from (some) of these meetings.    I geeked out while learning some of the instructional technology, but by far the best piece of advice I heard this week is “remember to take care of yourself.”

As professors and teachers there is a tendency to try to be  ‘Superteacher’.    There is always more that we can do for my classes.   Most instructors WANT to do more for our classes because we love to teach and genuinely want to see our students succeed.    The truth of the matter is that we can’t be superteachers all the time!    We are all human.   Self-care for teachers and professors is enormously important, because burnout is a very real thing.   Teaching a takes an enormous amount of energy,  and often times students or administration can be cool towards you.    I’ve been lucky at my college:  I get great feedback from both my students and my administrators.    But you still need to develop a thick skin if you want to thrive as a teacher.    I was horribly disappointed when I lost my chili-pepper on ratemyprofessors.com, and absurdly pleased when I got it back.   I’m still human I guess.

That leads me to the other really good piece of advice I heard this week:  “You don’t have to change who you are to teach.”  It pays to have a personality, and not just a persona.   Having a life beyond your students doesn’t take away from your teaching, it adds to it.

So there it is… if you want to be a good teacher,  you need have a life.   Really.   One with friends, and family, and love, and sex, and the late-night conversations that make you miss your bed-time.

Next week:  more with teaching with zombies.

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