So, in the academic world we do something called classroom observations. Adjuncts are observed, and full-time non-tenured faculty. Although I'm brand new, all FT faculty must observe at least one adjunct, so I was called on to observe a well-respected adjunct (my own observation by another prof is the 12th, and I'm nervous as hell). Last Thursday I stayed late to watch her teach (she teaches from 7:30-8:45 pm, which made for a late night).
Anyway, I'm tucked in a corner observing how she teaches and interacts with the students, how they respond to her. And as I'm watching her, I realize...that's how I teach. Seriously. The way I speak, my mannerisms, the casual interactions with the students. And this thought comes into my head. If I teach like someone who is considered well-respected, then I must be doing something right.
So then I start Friday in a really good mood, going into the first of a series of faculty development workshops that are designed to help us create assignments that are both great learning opportunities for the students and practice for the college exit exam (yes, there is a college-wide exit exam that involves reading, critical thinking, writing, summarizing, analyzing).
I love love loved this workshop! I already have ideas on how to make the coursework more appropriate for the students. I can't wait to make some of those changes for next semester. It was a really great learning experience for me (funny how that works, isn't it).
In the course of this workshop, I also discovered that the majority of the assignments in my courses are considered by these 'faculty of faculty' to be very good assignments. I received some quiet, but gratifyingly positive feedback. For a newbie prof, it really did good things for my self-confidence.
Of course, what goes up must come down, and in this case it was my pride. I began to feel quite ill this afternoon and had a class at 5:30. I was not fully prepared, and it showed. I wound up ending class at the halfway point because it just didn't make sense to continue when I was feeling so poorly. I'll make it up to them on Monday, though.
I definitely understand now why faculty disappear into the woodwork between semesters and over the summer. It's those times away that make it possible for us to keep up the 12 hour days for 15 weeks straight!
But hey, I'm still lovin' it. I really am.