The busiest semester that I have ever had teaching college courses, recently came to an end. I had a heavy course load this time around, it was a test at times, and I really had to find a balance in my personal life and career. However, it was a welcomed challenge. I taught several course sections, with a fine group of students in GUST 305 (College Student Success) and INRW 0301 (Integrated Reading and Writing). In addition to my teaching duties, I did a short interview on first generation college student success on a YouTube show, #YouBelong (thank you, FirstGenCollege). I also presented at the San Jacinto Literacy Conference, shortly before the semester began, and I presented a concurrent session during the NAME (National Association for Multicultural Education) 25th Annual International Conference in New Orleans right in the middle of the semester. The professional growth I experienced, and my students’ growth over the semester was a valuable experience, and a blessing.
This was my 12th year in education (3rd in Higher Education). I vowed when I first started teaching, to always make adjustments, and not do the same things (or exact same lesson) every year. So as usual, I made an effort to try to implement one new technique or strategy into my teaching. I incorporated new technology programs, such as PowToon, and I challenged my students to give video presentations (instead of the traditional classroom presentation/PowerPoint). Only a few students were brave enough to take on the task, but I was so glad that they did. The videos shared expressed their personality and confidence in a manner that I would not have seen in a traditional presentation. It also allowed their classmates and myself to see their talents and creativity outside of the classroom setting.
I pride myself in making learning creative and innovative. I teach content in a manner that relates to students. I am transparent, and I acknowledge my mistakes that I have made in education, in order to warn and guide my students throughout the semester. I let them know that I am still growing as a professional. I do this to let them know that they should always work to be great, and make strides on which ever path they choose to go on.
Lessons I Hope To Teach My Students Each Semester:
-Be active in the classroom, on campus, and in your outside life (some fun is allowed–learning to balance is the hard part)
-Develop a support system–introduce yourself to professionals and students on campus. Let someone know that you are on campus, and that you really want to do everything you can to achieve your goals
-Use ALL of the FREE on campus resources (From the library, to tutoring, to FREE giveaways on campus)
-ASK questions NOW, instead of later
-Learning has to travel outside of your classroom (use what you are learning, and find a way APPLY it to your life situations)
– Not all professors/instructors are the same- you must “learn” your professor, and adapt accordingly.
-Your work represents who YOU are –your professor, quite possibly, will not ever know your name (if you are on a large campus, in a large class). Even if they don’t know your name, make sure they know you for QUALITY work, and good work habits.
Closing thoughts: As a professor, I hope that I give my students the motivation to continue on. I also hope that I allow them to learn more about themselves and achieve personal growth in whatever subject we are learning. Lastly, I hope that show them my passion for my field and career by providing them with a level of professionalism, respect, and honesty that is memorable. It is an honor to educate, and be trusted with such an important job.
I am always so busy being “in the moment”. I must get better at using media to document my journey through each semester. Below are a few highlights from throughout the semester:
NAME 2015, October 1-4, 2015, New Orleans, LA
GUST 305 Students’ Formulas for Motivation (Math is not my primary area, but they came up with some awesome formulas)
Those of you in higher education (or education period), enjoy your winter break! Spring 2016 will be here before we know it!
-Dr. K. Childs