This Fall, head back to school feeling renewed and recharged for the year. Let’s face it, it’s been a wild couple of years for college instruction!
Recently instructors were challenged to navigate the effects of a variety of macro events. To name a few, we had a pandemic, national conversations, and protests on racial equity and social justice, effects from the war in Ukraine, worldwide supply chain disruptions, a tight labor market, and rising costs of goods due to record inflation. Not to mention when college campuses pivoted quickly to remote and hybrid learning, instructors and administrators were challenged with supporting students with their education, many of whom grappled with feelings of anxiety, depression, and searching for a sense of community. Feel drained about teaching this Fall?
Instructors have an opportunity to start this school year with intentions and a mindset that brings the best of them into the classroom – whatever challenges are thrown their way! Now, is the time to look inward and self-reflect. To remember the passion and calling for teaching. To feel renewed and recharged return to school. Instructors! do this by heading to the classroom with a focus on “dignity,” “direction” and “purpose.”
Instructors and administrators have a responsibility to support their students. This includes being a model of encouragement and decorum for their college experience. Take an active role with students and help them learn how to succeed. Encourage them to have a growth mindset and be curious. Remind them to take time for themselves to stay healthy and strong. Reward hard work and tenacity. Help them learn from their setbacks and failures. Guide them on how to manage their time.
Be a beacon of direction and guidance. Set expectations before the course starts. Tell your story to students, the reasons you’re passionate about both teaching and your courses. Give them specific guidance and direction to prepare for day one, including any pre-readings, and how to reach you outside of class. Students expect course materials that are relevant and topical, so update your curriculum. Make sure your course outline gives clear directions that will help students successfully reach course outcomes.
Instructors, stay focused on the higher purpose calling to prepare the future workforce. Life is hard and anything worth doing usually takes great purpose and effort, including helping students pass a college class and graduate from college. Reflect on what inspired you to become a teacher, and write it down on a piece of paper that you take to class as a reminder. Listen to feedback and review last year’s student evaluations, both the positive and the negative comments. And, take care of yourself by making sure you schedule enough personal time to reduce the world’s demands and noise and focus on your purpose as a college instructor.
It's a new school year, a new start. Set expectations for yourself that you’ll teach every class to make it a premium experience for students and one that they’ll remember. Make the most of it! and take this time to look inward and be renewed and recharged for your students.