Thoughts and Reflection!

When reading the article titled: “Finding My Teaching Voice” by Sarah, I found her experience is very informative and interesting to reflect upon. I really like how she wrote her story and thoughts. Below I summarized what the most important takeaway lessors (in my opinion) and along with some personal experience:

  1. There are many different techniques but a few of them work for us, not all. That is we have different personalities and characteristics. It is to me like a medicine that might work for some people and not for others. A couple months ago, I was attending a teaching workshop where the instructor gave us a lot of techniques but she stressed out that it’s really important to realize that not all of them work with you, so the participants’ job is to find out the best teaching style that could work with them.
  2. Instead of coping with the exact character of the particular teacher, we should aim at picking up the best practice/teaching techniques and build our teaching style and keep improving it over time.
  3. One way to keep teachers being improved is to hold a monthly meeting with other teachers to exchange experience and thoughts.
  4. Teachers should get feedback from students so often (not only after the semester is over!). For example, the teacher could ask the whole class to answer one question using a questionnaire app (there’re plenty of FREE apps for surveys) if they had achieved the goal of today’s class and understood the most of it.
  5. One thing comes to my mind but could not address it: is it better to have an anticipated behavior so the students could easily predict teacher’s response for what he/she would do or is it better to follow unclear anticipated approach so that students never misuse this for their favor?
  6. One missing part I see in most of the courses I’ve been taking is we don’t what the plan is for today? Yes, we know the syllabus and the main topic for this week but don’t know what the details are we going to covered? What is the teacher expected from the students at the end of the class? To me, this is what makes students get bored as they don’t know what to learn. It’s like going on a trip but don’t the purpose of the trip nor know when it will end.
  7. One lesson I learned when teaching is that never things would come as perfectly as we expected! Simply, because we teach humans with different feelings and personalities, and each one had a different day that might affect his/her engaging in the class.
  8. Being always relaxed or very serious when teaching is a bad thing. To me, our teaching style should have relied on different factors such as today’s topic, the current circumstances of the class, and the level of engagement between the teacher and students, and so on.
  9. Preparation is a key factor that almost all the good professors I talk to are doing. They would prepare along enough although they have been teaching the course for years! Watch how much efforts this professor has spent for this class!


  1. The author said “Instead of assessing students equally, in some circumstances I have shifted toward assessing students individually” but a teacher might being trapped in treating them unfairly!
  2. The first 5-min of the class could be a great opportunity to increase the level of engagement and motivation between the instructor and students. One way is by discussing any non-related topic to the class and letting the majority of the students to express their opinion. That could maximize their participation and make the class more comfortable and relaxing to talk and express their feeling.

3 Replies to “Thoughts and Reflection!”

  1. Great post this week. You covered a lot of ground with your list. I love the idea of using a few minutes at the front end of class to share the plan & what the students should expect to gain from their time in class on that day. I like the idea of some non-course related chitchat, but I think it a better use of everyone’s time to do that before class starts. With a class as big as ours, for instance, letting the majority of folks weigh in on a non-related topic could easily derail the entire lesson plan. (You know how it goes in our discussions… sometimes it takes 45+ minutes to just get comments out of 6-8 people.) There may also be some students who are irritated by the off-topic discussions, so this may not be a great strategy for all. BUT, I do love the idea of using the apps for polling to ask a question to the whole group and then share the result to the class in a couple of minutes at the beginning. Everyone gets to engage and provide input, but without taking up all the “air time” of the course.

    I think this is a super interesting question to explore!! Have you seen this work well in different classroom settings before? If so, tell me more! I am always interested in learning new strategies for engaging with my students and developing the human relationship that is often ignored outside of what happens between a mentor and their student.

    1. Thank you, Sarah, for reading my post. Yes, these tips might not be appropriate for all classes.

      No, I didn’t have a class yet that used apps but I heard from undergrad students at VT who had a positive experience with it. As you said, it saves so much time and the teacher gets all what he wants in one or two minutes. One way I say it applicable to is when asking students if they have understood what you just explained, students would be shy to say not but using the app would give them more comfort to response hnestly.

  2. This is a very well written post. You put interesting points and raised some very important questions. Point 1’s reference to medicine is apt in my consideration. I know a person who went to get medicine for someone else telling the pain as their own. The medicine, for obvious reasons, didn’t go well with the other person (Everyone: Please don’t ever try this). I think the regular feedback is a great idea and should help a teacher to continuously evolve not just semester after semester but within a course itself. I think for the sixth point, seventh point can come into picture. Not everything that is planned for a day may be achieved but a topic discussed over a week is still doable. It goes without further stress the importance of preparation. I think I read somewhere in this week’s reading to have a plan b and c and d. I think the last point is also very interesting and should be tested at least for a few classes to see how the students are taking it. Once again, great post.

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