Summer 2015 happy update

After concluding a two-year stint serving as associate dean for academic affairs, I’m delighted to be returning to the classroom next Fall (and looking forward to returning to blogging about teaching)!

Time Out! four-month reflection on deanly duties

I’ve been wearing one extra hat this semester, adding “temporary dean-type” to the various kinds of family, community, and teacher hats that I wear. I haven’t learned all that much new about myself, but the process of wearing multiple hats has helped me clarify who I am and where I want to go.

I love to teach. I do it well, and even though I’m a naturally happy person, I always find a special kind of happy when I’m in the classroom.

I have ideas.  Scholarly ideas. Publishable ideas. Once I regain some of that time that I’m losing this academic year, I look forward to getting some work out there. In the meantime, I’m keeping a brainstorming file.

I have the makings of an effective administrator. But I work at a place that is already functioning at a very high level (I know how lucky I am!). I have amazing colleagues. From time to time, I hear people at other institutions say “I’m looking to have more impact,” meaning they want to move into administration. Other than keeping the cogs of a well-oiled machine running smoothly, I don’t find that the work of a mid-level administrator at my institution has much impact. Yes, I recognize that maintaining the status quo is difficult and important when the status quo is pretty darn good.  And, I’ll totally admit that it’s fun, detail ridden, challenges my people skills, and also makes me happy. But it’s not the same as teaching and watching/hearing the light bulbs go on in students’ heads.

So far I think I have three take-aways from the first four months: (1) I have completely accepted that doing my best will mean that sometimes I’ll still make mistakes.  I’m not even losing sleep over it.  (2) I’m going to be much more productive with my time now that I’m learning some tricks for better managing it! (3) I’m more creative, more effective, and happier when I’m busy.  I’ve always kinda known this about myself; this year is just putting it to the test in a very extreme way…  I’m just not a lady of leisure.

I wanted to write this post about the awesomeness of my intensive music theory experience. But it morphed into something else…
Posts to write this week (it’s fall break!): effectiveness of daily homework, awesomeness of low-stakes podcasts, and some reflections on why the class dynamic this semester ended up being so good.

 

How does blogging help your teaching?

So, I opened up my institution’s weekly pedagogy email this morning intending to read and blog about the pedagogy article that would be included.  Oops.  The email was advertising my upcoming stint as “guide” at the next brown-bag pedagogy session. I love the brown bag sessions. I try to make at least two a year and I always walk away with two things I value a lot: new ideas percolating away and a strong sense of community built around the shared goal of being a better teacher. Also, I love meeting people who teach different subjects! I am excited and, of course, honored to be leading the next one.

I’ll be starting our April brown-bag discussion with the question featured in this post’s title…  I’ll have several ideas for where discussion could go, but am excited to experience where discussion actually will go. Continue reading