Week 1: Discovering My Authentic Teaching Self

A lot of things in the introduction of the ‘Finding My Teaching Voice’ article by Sarah E. Deel really resonated with me, as my first experience lecturing was also a subject I never studied in undergrad. I felt like I was unprepared and like I wouldn’t know enough about the subject and about teaching in general in order to help my students learn. Fortunately, I did learn more as I lectured more, and I studied a lot behind the scenes in order to feel more confident in the subject matter; however I still am very aware of the fact that I am very new to teaching.

It is very interesting to think about what sort of instructor I will come off as to my students. I feel like I would have a hard time naturally inserting jokes into my lectures, as I tend to be fairly serious when I teach. However, I do not want to be so serious as to be off-putting to my students, as I want them to ask for my aid when necessary.

The comment about wanting to improve students’ understanding of the material from wherever their starting point is, even if they don’t all reach the same endpoint, was very striking to me. I do find fairness an equality very important in the classroom, and my primary goal is to help students understand the material, but it wasn’t until now that I considered that students may still end up in different places and still have improved in the case of more abstract concepts.

After reviewing the materials, I think in general some of the most important things when teaching to me are: approachability, equality, making my content clear and not unnecessarily complicated, valuing learning over grades, and encouraging students to be more passionate about the subject at hand. However, I am sure I will discover other important aspects as I continue my teaching journey.

4 thoughts on “Week 1: Discovering My Authentic Teaching Self

  • September 16, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    I could not agree more with your comments here! I too find one of the most important items of teaching to be approachability, because who would be able to ask you a question if you were not approachable? In addition, I appreciate your sentiment towards the fact that we are still, and always will be, growing as instructors. We are only human, and I think that is an important piece to note here.

  • September 16, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    Hi, the last part of your post was particularly striking to me especially thinking about the approachability issue. How can one approach a teacher outside the classroom? Going back to my experience, my teachers would often appear to me, not just outside the classroom but also after many years of me passing out, only as teachers. That’s to say, there won’t be any other life roles that we can attach to our teacher all through our lives. Once a teacher, forever a teacher you are for your students. So the approachability and its variations would still remain with the teacher-student relation never fading away even after the schooling. This might not be a concern of your post, but took me to a deeper thought for a while.

  • September 17, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Allison, your takeaway from Deel: the task of lecturing on a topic you’ve never studied is something that I have never experienced, but something that I definitely have anxiety about when it comes to thinking about how I might prepare for a course–whether I am designing it for the first time or picking up someone else’s course and making it my own. I think the way you dealt with that is what anyone would do: you rose to the occasion and did what you had to to make it work.

    I’m glad that you found the readings useful. From what you listed as important to you and your teaching, I think you are well on your journey to further develop as an educator.

  • December 1, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Allison – thanks for sharing! I also tend to come off as a serious teacher, so I have this irrational fear about not being personable to the students. I talked to my advisor about this and she said over time and with experience it get’s easier. Alexandria

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