For many students and instructors, the upcoming weeks are the most motivationally challenging of the academic year. Days are getting shorter, colder and darker with six solid weeks of class behind us and four more weeks ahead before a break.
But Michigan Tech’s terrific faculty routinely provide me with inspiration to keep me focused. I want to share a story I play back in my head on tougher days in hopes that it will inspire you too.
When I first became the CTL director, Glen Archer, principal lecturer and associate chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, used to do me the favor of speaking near the end of Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) orientation each fall. Glen would remind the GTAs that they were going to be the “maximum in the room.”
What he meant was that any students would almost certainly reflect and rise only to the level of enthusiasm and motivation set by their instructor. Glen was challenging them to set that bar high.
Glen’s advice helps me focus on bringing my best self into the classroom, even on days when I’m distracted by non-teaching or personal business, teaching material I don’t find that interesting myself, or just plain tired. It helps me see that if I’m not leading the way with interest and enthusiasm, it’s pretty hard to expect that my students will follow.
On Nov. 30, Glen will be recognized with the final 2017 CTL Teaching Award for Excellence in Large Class Teaching. He’ll share other stories as part of this event; I encourage you to mark your calendar now so that you can attend and hear more words of wisdom from this terrific teacher.
If you’d like to talk more about ways to keep yourself and students motivated, stop into the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.
From Terrific Teaching at Tech, by Mike Meyer, William G. Jackson CTL.