Revisiting my Teaching Manifesto in 2018

In lieu of making teaching resolutions for the new year, and following the lead of my good friend and colleague, Danah Hashem, I wanted to revisit the goals I made at the beginning of this teaching year in my Teaching Manifesto.

 My Teaching Manifesto: Revisited

My students

  • I will get to know each of my students on a personal level, enabling me to meet not only their academic needs but also their mental-emotional ones. Although I’ve gotten to know most of my students on a personal basis, there are still some whom I haven’t connected with as deeply as I’d like. The students with whom I’ve struggled to connect also happen to be students who likely need it the most, so it’s something I need to continue to work. My goal for this next quarter is to check in with students who are struggling before I need to remind them about makeup work.
  • I will go to school activities in order to see my students partaking in activities that make them feel proud. Because I’ve been struggling to keep up with all the work I have, I haven’t prioritized the social part of school as much as I should. I spent most of first and much of second quarter frantically trying to get through all of my grading, and that didn’t leave much time for other things. I’ve started to feel like I have a better balance between planning, grading, and personal-life, so hopefully I can improve on this for the next two quarters. 
  • I will be mindful that students have more than my class to worry about, and, therefore, I won’t ever give them busywork. This is something I think I’ve done a good job sticking to. However, something I now need to do is balance the amount of (non-busywork) work I give; because quarter two seemed to go by so quickly, students had a lot of assignments to do back to back. I’m hoping to provide more balance for them in the next few quarters. 
  • I will worry less about how many texts we get through and more about how deeply we get into each text. I still worry about this; however, my curriculum is not determined by this worry. Although we aren’t getting through as much as I might have hoped by this point, I truly believe my students are connecting deeply with what we have done thus far. 
  • I will have my students do various kinds of writing, frequently. Although students are doing some different kinds of writing, and doing it fairly frequently, I hope to increase the kinds of writing they’re doing in the next two quarters. 

My colleagues

  • I will ask questions and ask my colleagues for help. I’m fortunate to not only have an incredible mentor but also have colleagues who enjoy helping me. I’ve definitely been more apt to ask for help this year, and I think that is largely due to the incredible experience I have when I’ve requested support. I’m beyond grateful for my colleagues!
  • I will utilize my colleagues’ areas of expertise. As I mentioned earlier, planning has taken up a lot more time than I imagined. I’m fortunate to have colleagues who share their units with me, and this has made my planning more manageable, and it’s also allowed me to come at material in a way that I may not have originally thought to, which, pedagogically, has been invaluable. 
  • I will share areas in which I feel confident. I haven’t yet shared a ton of my own materials with colleagues. I’ve let my own insecurities (being the youngest and one of the least experienced in my department) prevent me from sharing a ton; however, my department is encouraging, and I’m hoping to be able to share some materials soon!

My personal life

  • I will prioritize time with my husband and dog. I haven’t done a good job with this. My time management hasn’t been ideal this year, which has led to more time planning and grading (or catching up on sleep) and less time with these two important beings. 
  • I will take my dog for a walk at least once a day (even when it’s cold, and I just want to cuddle under a pile of blankets). With wind chills of -20, I’ve completely failed with this. I’ve been a pretty rubbish dog mom recently. 
  • I will make time to see friends, and I’ll try not to spend that time just talking about work. Although I don’t do this as often as I probably should, I have tried to make time to do this, and we’ve mostly kept the work talk to a minimum…mostly. 
  • I will (try) to keep my home life organized throughout the week rather than having a massive organization/ cleaning day during the weekend. This is… well… time management again.

My self

  • I will make time for me at least once a month (whether it’s getting a manicure, a massage, or just reading by myself), and I’ll try not to feel guilty about it. I haven’t made this a priority, and I think it’s really taken a toll on me. 
  • I will prioritize my physical, emotional, and mental health, starting with being more physically active. Because I’ve been pushing myself too far, I’ve been exhausted, so any free time I have is usually spent sleeping or half asleep. I bought a Groupon for a gym, so that’s something, right?
  • I will forgive myself. When I, inevitably, fall short in one of these areas, I will forgive myself, and I’ll try not spend so much time beating myself up about it. I will understand that I’m only human, and I make mistakes, and I will try to learn from them. This is probably the hardest one, and it’s also probably the one I’ve done the worst with. I’m incredibly hard on myself, and I’ve definitely beat myself up more than I should this year. I can at least say that I’m trying to improve this, and since this goal is all about forgiving myself, I’m going to say trying is good enough.

Although I haven’t made as much progress towards my goals as I’d like, I’m hopeful that I can make vast improvements in the following quarters.

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