(Each month, I write a “From the Director” column for the UBC Okanagan Centre for Teaching and Learning’s newsletter. This is from November 2017, adapted slightly for a wider audience.)
In my conversations with faculty about teaching and learning, they often mutter, “…but I have no training in how to teach.” I’ve heard this from all ranks in the research and teaching streams. It makes people avoid discussions about effective and excellent teaching because it’s hard to have those conversations without comparing everything to our own successes (and failures.)
Teaching should be exciting and invigorating, not dissatisfying or discouraging. I’d like you to know:
- Being an excellent, even an effective, teacher isn’t something you’re born with or something that happens overnight. It takes time and practice to build your expertise, one small step at a time, just like every other skill you’ve learned. If you want to start making some changes, drop by your institution’s Center for Teaching.
- Rest assured that if you contact your Center or drop by to visit, you will never be judged or evaluated by anyone here. We welcome all instructors, no matter the level of your expertise or your enthusiasm for teaching.
- When you’re ready for a longer and more deliberate path to improving your teaching, make an appointment with someone in your Center. Meeting face-to-face with course instructors is our highest priority (and most welcome) conversation so we’ll re-arrange our schedules. We’re happy to help you figure out what’s achievable in the time you’ve got and how they can support you.