Here at The Novice Professor (and everywhere else) academics are heading into a new school year. As "this" year comes to a close we are reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the upcoming year. To inspire you, and help hold ourselves accountable, we are sharing our goals with you in this week's posts, spanning several topics of academic life.
A no-brainer, Teaching is important to us at The Novice Professor. With three of us in different places in our teaching, we have unique perspectives and approaches to improving our teaching.
I actually have two goals related to teaching and being in the classroom. Firstly, I spent way way WAY too much time grading as a first-year professor, and that needs to change. My intro class included quite a few assessments that I would grade by hand for all sections. However, I think these assessments can be altered to 1. be more beneficial to the students and 2. be graded differently (by the students themselves, by their peers, online submission, etc.). I know that I cannot escape grading completely, but I also know that by setting this goal to limit the amount of time I spend grading less important assessments (like daily quizzes) the more energy I will have to focus on my teaching. Secondly, and this one is really important to me, I want to make sure I “reach” one more student in each of my intro classes this coming year. When I say “reach” I mean that I want to establish a connection with one more student – be that helping them succeed in my class, helping them establish healthy study habits overall, helping them with career advice, etc. I am thinking that sending out a personalized email to students who might need help, or chatting with them after class ends could be ways to begin that connection. I think I can become an impactful teacher by always striving to connect with one more student in each of my classes.
This goal actually spans teaching and research. This year I am incorporating more informal student feedback to assess my teaching techniques and course design. I plan to include at least two opportunities for feedback over the semester in each class. The goal is that 1) students feel they have more say in the course, 2) I can learn of and address student concerns before end-of-the-semester evaluations are completed, and 3) I can provide appropriate justifications of my teaching in my teaching portfolio.
This semester, I will be teaching Statistical Methods again. One of my main goals when teaching Stats is for my students to learn to be critical consumers of media. This semester, I want to incorporate more examples and tasks that teach students how to apply what they know about statistics to short media articles and headlines. If possible, I would like to develop this into a SoTL type project, as a pre-post test on student’s ability to identify problematic or misleading information in media.