Here is an email that I sent to the faculty of my school (the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond) this morning as we all get ready for a new school year. Time to get excited about the upcoming challenge.
Greetings -- welcome back for another bright and sunny school year. Possibly
because I am so lost in the classroom, people send me articles about teaching
that they have found worthwhile. I received two within the last 48 hours. I
thought they were both great. They got me back into thinking about how I might
teach my classes better in the upcoming year. I started getting excited about
the opening day of class.
I might even send these articles to my
students. I find it helpful if students realize that there is some
justification to all the weird things I do in class. (I seem less eccentric to
The first article comes from a buddy of mine in New Jersey who
thinks almost as obsessively about teaching as I do. This article reminds me
of my favorite quote about teaching (from the book "What the Best College
Teachers Do" by Dr. Ken Bain). A well-known professor is talking about how he
teaches and he talks about puzzling the students: “Those puzzles and knots
generate questions for students, he went on to say, and then you begin to help
them untie the knots.” What a brilliant description of teaching in college:
puzzle the students and then help them solve those puzzles.
Here is the
URL for the article I received from New Jersey.
second article comes from Shital Thekdi who was kind enough to share it with
me. Here is my favorite quote from this one: "I myself became a decent
teacher only when I started to relinquish some control over the
classroom―stopped worrying so much about “getting my points across” and
recognized that those moments of disorder that would sometimes occur, those
spontaneous outbreaks of intelligence, were the most interesting parts of the
class, for both my students and myself. We were going somewhere new, and we were
going there together."
And the URL is:
a great new school year!!!! Since I am currently sitting with coffee in hand
at a table near Charleston, I will leave you with another of my favorite quotes
about teaching. This comes from the book "Prince of Tides" which is set in
this area of the low country of South Carolina. It is about Tom and Savannah
Wingo who are twins:
“She took my hand and squeezed it. ‘You sold
yourself short. You could’ve been more than a teacher and a coach.’ I
returned the squeeze and said, ‘Listen to me, Savannah. There’s no word in the
language I revere more than teacher. None. My heart sings when a kid refers
to be as his teacher and it always has. -- I’ve honored myself and the entire
family of man by becoming one.”
Later -- after I posted this blog entry, another colleague forwarded yet another fascinating teaching article. So, here's a third super article for your consideration: