Student Snippets


On Teaching

It is always with a slight swell of pride that I tell people my dad is a college English professor. I'm not completely sure why; perhaps it's because I see it as a noble profession. There's also the fact that he followed his passion into his field and I think that's what makes him so good at it. I've always wanted to emulate him in following my own passions, but I didn't necessarily think that would mean teaching. Now that my mom has her master's in teaching perhaps I should be wondering if teaching is in my blood.

This semester with User Instruction I feel like I'm finally learning something about the "family business." It may all be in the context of information literacy, but we're still learning basic principles of instructional design, pedagogy, reflective practice, outcomes assessment, and learning theories. We're also practicing our speaking and presenting skills. It's something you might not have expected to find at library school but it has broad and exciting applications.

On Saturday we had an assignment to give a 5-min teaching demo (with learning objectives) on any topic of our choice. It was like a variety show, with each of us showcasing various hobbies and interests while expressing our personalities through our instruction. Bringing authenticity into your teaching is a hallmark of the best teachers, according to several sources we've read. Being authentic makes you more interesting, memorable, and relatable to your students while ensuring that you are personally invested in the message you are trying to get across. Being authentic involves a degree of vulnerability and (what feels like) exposure in front of a room full of people, and I think it relies on some acceptance and comfort with who you are.

I love the idea of cultivating your own teaching identity and I think the whole process dovetails nicely with my personal philosophy of continual growth and improvement. All my life I've loved learning, and for most of my adult life I've been mildly obsessed with bettering myself through education, reading, experimentation, and trying new things. It seems a natural progression, then, to involve myself in a work devoted to the learning, growth, and improvement of others. I am excited (and a little afraid) to see where this journey takes me!

Classes | skills