When grad school ended I took a beat before moving (again) then teaching. I never set out to be a classroom instructor, but the experience of teaching has become an important aspect of the service I provide. Now I fundamentally accept academic advising as teaching whereas before, I understood the connection but did not fully buy-in to the concept. As with advising, there are times I have to unlearn what I thought I understood about the classroom environment. The student and professor who show up for each class are brave because learning can be an uneasy, vulnerable thing.
I gave students the best of me for 7 weeks when I taught SDV-100 College Success Skills at Germanna Community College. It may not seem like a long time, but trust me 7 weeks was enough time for me to test the waters of my first solo gig. I would absolutely teach again, but I prefer to write. Although most of the writing I have been doing lately consists of emails to students and hysterical GChats with co-workers. They say "Welp!" a lot, which sums up much of the difficult conversations we have with students, but it is their creative use of well-placed .GIFs that gets me every time.
Early in the SDV-100 course I remember asking my students to take out their phones and respond to a screen prompt using Mentimeter, a service that incorporates real-time audience response into presentations. It was an easy way to get immediate feedback on what students know. I asked them, "What are your fears about college?" Some of their most challenging responses were:
This discussion led me to come clean about my own fears going into college: I believed I was not smart enough. A few nodded when I asked them if they have thought that way about college. Call it inferior thinking or impostor syndrome, but a student with a 4.0 GPA can still beat themselves up and feel like the biggest idiot in a room. More to the point, any one of them regardless of their GPA can feel this way. SDV-100 teaches skills to enrich students' college life experience. But what my students taught me was so much more important. They showed me that learning can be as much art and skill as it is a battle.
Creative reflections on academic advising and learning
Cultivating dual resilience: Teaching shame recovery and image rebuilding through academic advising.
Unless noted otherwise, all content copyright 2017-2020 by Tanya Wineland.