The Professor Is In recently republished two posts on five-year plans for graduate students. These posts reminded me of how little long-term thinking goes into my own professional development as an educator. Yes, I do research on pedagogy, attend conferences, and publish. Yes, I think about how to fix what didn’t work in a course so that I can do a better job next time. But in many respects it’s a semester-by-semester, course-by-course process of putting out brush fires — I get caught up in the immediacy of shepherding a hundred students through a fourteen-week semester. I rarely take the time to comprehensively examine all of my teaching to ask myself whether I’ll be satisfied doing the same things in the same ways five or ten years into the future. So although I can trace how certain aspects of my teaching have evolved over the years, it hasn’t been a very deliberative process. While I’ve repeatedly managed to get from A to B, I haven’t been planning how to get from A to Z.
Over the next few weeks I’ll write some posts about one part of my teaching that exemplifies what I’m talking about.