People first: Teaching through difficult times

Higher education does not really prepare us well to be higher educators. This is no surprise. Most higher education instructors teach following the model that they found most effective as students, that was modeled for them by mentors, or that they feel is most accepted in their disciplines. Instructors learn by modeling and observation, but the models are not always carefully chosen and the observations are not always debriefed. Still, with time and practice, an instructor’s teaching craft is (hopefully) honed and strengthened while concurrently their content knowledge is deepened and solidified. This is the trajectory of an engaged instructor.

In much the same way that we have little preparation to teach, we also have little preparation to address student needs during difficult times. Even folks who are well versed in pedagogy because it happens to be one of the topics they teach are not prepared for teaching in difficult times. (Yes, that’s me! I’m raising my hand to the sky!)

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