My Authentic Teaching Self

I’ve never taught a class before nor do I currently teach. I just know that if my career path leads me into the academic world of research, I better be prepared to teach, and do it well! I showed interest in wanting to gain some experience by teaching and I have been told multiple times that having teaching experience isn’t necessary as a researcher, even if I end up at a university! Maybe some people whose passions lie in research might agree, but this always frustrates me because I have had some BAD classroom experiences in my life and definitely don’t want this cycle to continue. This is where Sarah E. Deel’s prologue really resonated with me, how she talked about receiving very little guidance about teaching during graduate school. Even if I am not in a “classroom”, as a researcher I will likely be a mentor and having some of these teaching skills is very important to me. Anyway, I knew I had to figure out the foundation of my teaching style & voice so here I am taking this Contemporary Pedagogy class as an elective, although I know that my authentic teaching self will evolve over time.

Like Sarah E. Deel discussed in her paper, I often think back to the teacher’s I’ve had in my lifetime, the good and the bad, and try to figure out what made them that way and how I could use that information to become a better teacher. The discussions we’ve had and ideas we’ve shared in class so far have really been helping me visualize how I would want my classroom to look. For instance I want to implement an assessment techniques that would not require grades. Some of the ideas I really like are things like focusing on doing more experiential and mindful learning in the class that would help remove the wrong type of motivation that come with grades. I still struggle when I think about how I would get students to be interested in the learning if I am for instance teaching a required course or teaching a class of 100 students. It’s really hard for me describe myself as a teacher because I just haven’t been in that role yet, and I don’t want to limit myself to a description I set for myself now. I think every class that I teach will be different. Until I get to that point, I hope the one or two guest lectures I might get the chance to do, I can practice some of these concepts and start to build my authentic teaching self.

4 thoughts on “My Authentic Teaching Self

  1. Hi Maryam,

    Thanks for the post. I also do not have any teaching experience. As you said, it is really difficult to figure out how our authentic teaching voice should be in a classroom when we start to teach. But, again as you said, each classroom and each course subject will be different and we should adapt our teaching style to those specific classes if needed. So, we can create our own teaching style very well only when we start to teach, I think. Whatever we are planning for our teaching style right now, might be unrealistic or limit us eventually.


  2. Thanks for your post! I am so glad that you are taking this class and excited to hear about some of the things you are excited to try! And even though you may not have formal teaching experiences, experiences mentoring other students, working with newer grad students, tutoring, etc. can be helpful when figuring out your style. I am excited to hear about how your view of your authentic teaching self evolves throughout the semester (and beyond)! Thanks for the post!


  3. Thanks for your post. I totally agree that each course that you teach will be different, and even the same course could be different under different conditions such as the number of students in class, and whether they are grad or undergrad students. I hope you can implement everything we’ve learned in this class into your teaching experiences in the future.


  4. Yes, I have heard the same thing: teaching experience doesn’t matter at the university level, though (like you) I disagree with that idea. It shouldn’t be assumed that teaching will just naturally come because you’re a great researcher… teaching takes a lot of practice and a lot of preparation. It would be nice if there were adequate support for university professors wanting to learn how to teach better (and adequate recognition of those efforts).


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