When opportunity knocks, answer the door

Six weeks ago, at the end of July, new campus leadership at UBC Okanagan decided to restructure the Centre for Teaching and Learning and eliminated the position of Director, and therefore, me. When the day comes post-covid-19 when we can sit around and laugh over drinks, I’ll add some details.

My neighbour, Raymond, had the best advice for me after he saw the For Sale sign go up in front of my house:

When opportunity knocks, answer the door.

Over the last six months at UBC Okanagan, my team and I helped course instructors pivot to “emergency remote teaching”. Then we turned our attention to preparing them for the Fall, which included facilitating many, many online workshops. That’s when I realized, again, I really, really I love teaching.

So I’m pursuing opportunities that will bring me back into the math classroom. That’s where I started teaching, more than 20 years ago (!) as a graduate student in Mathematics at UBC.

They say I was a pretty good teacher back then, and later when I taught introductory astronomy. I know so much more now about teaching and learning, and I’ve witnessed so many extraordinary course instructors develop and lead their classes. Honestly, I’m a little nervous about being instructor-of-record again, anxious that I can live up to their (and my) standards. Let’s see who’s at the door…

2 Replies to “When opportunity knocks, answer the door”

  1. Peter,
    You (at Langara) and a physics prof (from SFU) were the two best teachers I’ve had in my entire undergrad science education. It’s been 20 years since and I don’t “do” math or physics anymore, but I never stopped being curious and amazed by it all, and that’s because of teachers like you.

    It’s good that you’re a little nervous, but you were an amazing teacher back then, and I can’t imagine how good you’ll be now. A new generation of students will be extremely lucky to have you!

    All the best,
    Patrick (Langara 1999-2001)

    1. Damn, Patrick, that’s so very nice of you to say! I learned a lot about teaching at Langara and I’m glad we’ve kept in touch on Twitter. Thanks for the confidence boost 🙂

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