Oct 13
Advice To My Younger Self

Do you happen to be a new Instructor teaching your first term? If so, today's post is for you.

I remember my first term. It was brutal. Truly, brutal. With five sections of students, I taught four unique courses into four different programs between two campuses. I was overwhelmed. Perhaps you are too?

Janine.jpgDuring my first term, after a full day on campus, I still had lots of prep and marking to do in the evening. With a young family at home, I have a personal boundary that I don't do school work in front of my kids; the evening is family time. Personally, I choose to do it once they are sleeping. Here's how I made it work that first semester. When we put our then 2-year old to bed around 7:30, I was so exhausted I would fall asleep with her in her bed. My husband would wake me up a few hours later. Then, I'd work until 1 or 2 in the morning, go back to sleep, and do it all over again the next day. I would even cram prep and marking in during her afternoon naps on Saturday and Sunday. My husband used to tease me, "How do you like working for less than minimum wage?"

Sound familiar? If you're a new Instructor committed to teaching for learning, I bet it does. While our goal in this blog is not to share war stories, we do want to offer a weekly dose of encouragement.

So, looking back, here's what I would say to myself if I was starting out again.

  • You made an awesome choice. This is going to be a rewarding career.
  • You don't expect your students to be perfectly proficient on the first day. Don't expect that of yourself either.
  • It gets better, I promise. You are on the steepest part of the learning curve but it definitely gets better.
  • Teaching pressure ebbs and flows. I've learned that there are times in the term that are very intense and others when the pace is slower. Enjoy the ever-changing rhythm.

To all the new faculty: Thank you for the work you are doing to teach for learning. There is a community of Instructors at RRC who want to encourage and support you. Talk to each other. Talk to us. Let's connect!

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What positive advice would you give to encourage new Instructors? Leave a comment or contact us directly at jacarmichael@rrc.ca or alerougetel@rrc.ca.

Comments

I would also like to add th...

I would also like to add that if you can plan out your semester to see where the calm and busy times are you can balance things out by getting ahead of the game on lesson prep when you know there will be a lot of marking coming your way.  It is also possible to balance workload by seeing if moving assignment deadlines (prior to the start of the semester) can benefit both the students and yourself.  Marking under pressure is not good for either party.  I plan out my semester, class-by-class, so I can see bottlenecks.  It also allows me to make adjustments depending on how things go with the students.

When my kids were school aged I would do homework with them.  We would all sit around the kitchen table doing our homework together. 
Picture Placeholder: Maria Vincenten
  • Maria Vincenten
 on 10/13/2017 9:15 AM

Maria: I love that image - ...

Maria: I love that image - you and your kids doing homework together. I don't have kids, but I did briefly help a friend who is a mother, and that is what I did: My "homework" with the daughter's homework, both at the same table. I enjoyed it (even the child maybe didn't quite so much :)...
Picture Placeholder: Amanda  Le Rougetel
  • Amanda Le Rougetel
 on 10/16/2017 1:43 PM