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.