Are you prepared to teach in various settings?

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Have you considered teaching in a new setting? It is no secret that the field of higher education is changing – shifting from traditional ground setting classes and toward online classes and blended or hybrid classes. The ability to teach in a variety of settings provides opportunities to teach in various settings, which opens the door to more teaching opportunities.

Today, many college students are adult learners, who have families and full-time jobs; they do not have the ability to come to campus several times a week to participate in classes. In addition, the majority of ground classes offered at colleges and universities for bachelor level students are offered during the day. This can pose a problem for adult learners or students who are working full time jobs to pay for college. Therefore, colleges and universities have adapted class offerings to be more accessible. So, let’s consider various formats/modalities courses can be offered in today….

Blended or Hybrid Learning
The best methods from the traditional classroom and the online environment are combined to create a blended learning or hybrid class. Blended learning classes include a face to face and online digital media component. Traditional classroom methods can be used to deliver content, and online digital media is used to deliver other aspects of the course content. Students are provided an opportunity to engage with the material due to the access to technology and resources that cannot be access from the traditional classroom setting. One popular form of blended learning is flipping the classroom. Students are expected to engage with and review material before coming to class. Then the material that they reviewed is applied in the classroom setting. Application provides the opportunity to really engage with the content in a meaningful way.

Online or Distance Learning
IMG_1701Online learning allows students to learn from any location where they have access to technology that allows them to access the Internet. A learning management system will be used to access the course materials and resources and to participate in discussions, ask questions, and submit assignments/graded work. Learning in this setting for the most part is asynchronous. Students are not require to physically attend class. They sole connect with the instructor, peers, and the course materials through the learning management system accessed by way of the Internet.

Cohort Classes
When students are in a cohort, this simply means they will progress through the degree program with the same group of students. Cohorts can be offered in K-12 programs, in undergraduate programs, and in graduate programs. They can also be established in face to face as well as online settings.

Current Trends
Teaching is no longer done by simply standing behind a podium and lecturing in the front of a classroom. For this reason, it’s important to consider how classes you teach in a traditional face to face format can be offered in various modalities. Can your lessons, activities, assignments, and assessments be modified, converted, or adapted to be taught in an online modality or blended learning setting? Do you need to create additional materials, new assessments, and different assignments for students in different settings? Or can you adopt current assessments and assignments to those particular settings? Regardless of the modality, courses that are offered in various modalities should include the same information. Students should be assessed on the exact same objectives as students in a ground course.

Try Something New
Have you done any research and considered possibly blending one of your traditional class ground classes? It is fairly easy to get into a routine, which often prohibts seeking and seizing opportunities to grow as a professional in this field or any field. When you continue to do what you are comfortable doing, you miss opportunities to expand your skills. It’s important to consider that as the field changes you also have to adapt and be willing to change to meet new standards and expectations.

IMG_1715Technological innovation have changed the field of education. Students are able to attend classes in various settings and modalities, because technology provides the means to attend class anywhere an Internet connection can be established. It has also changed the field of education, because teachers have to be more innovative when they are presenting information in class. Subject matter can be access easily and quickly from the Internet; students can “Google” just about anything. Simply standing and lecturing is no longer enough to draw students to classes and keep their attention. If they can read the information in the textbook or better yet, find it on the Internet, then why bother to attend class? Creative and innovative thinking, as well as stepping outside of your comfort zone, may be necessary in order to continue to grow as a professional in the field of higher education.

5 Tips for Preparing for Next Semester

rawpixel-com-203891Often after the semester ends, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to think about or plan for the next semester. However, by doing some planning in the summer, you can reduce stress that you may experience at the beginning of a new semester. You can also reduce the amount of time you spend preparing for class during the semester.

My semester ends a few weeks before my children get out of school. This gives me a couple of weeks to check some things off my summer “To Do” list before they are home with me all day. My list consists of things that I have a hard time fitting in during the school years such as doctor’s appointments and home improvement/organizational tasks. But it also includes tasks related to teaching; things that I don’t have time to get done during the school year, because of all of the hustle and bustle.

By completing professional tasks in the summer, I feel more prepared and relaxed when I begin the next academic year. Here are some things I recommend that you consider doing during the summer months:

1. Review Textbooks in Your Discipline
Contact book publishers and ask for desk copies of textbooks that you may be interested in using in your classes. The summer provides a great opportunity to review content in textbooks to determine if it would be beneficial to the students in the classes that you teach. Some textbooks will also include resources to accompany the textbook that you may also want to review. The resources may provide additional ideas for lecture and activities to use in teaching the content.

2. Update Lectures and PowerPoints
Remain current in your discipline. Review the current research in your discipline that applies to topics you are teaching and update lecture and powerpoints that you will present in class.

3. Plan New Activities
Develop activities that will assist in teaching the content in your classes. Active learning opportunities help students to engage with the material which assists in their learning of the material. Consider learning styles as you develop activities. Can you incorporate a auditory, visual, and kinesthetic component when presenting the material?

4. Search for Additional Content
Videos and additional resources can very powerful when presenting material. Search for videos on topics that you present. Use videos that help to illustrate different topics you are teaching. You may also locate resources such as online surveys that could be implemented into your lectures.

5. Review Current Research
By remaining current in your field of study, students can be provided with the most up-to-date information. You may locate research articles in the university library that you wish to share with you students as supplemental reading. You may also use the articles to update lectures, powerpoints, and other teaching resources.

I try to complete these tasks shortly after the semester ends. This is when the changes that need to be made are the freshest in my mind. This also ensures that I still have a few weeks of downtime at the end of the summer to recharge for the upcoming semester. I can spend time with my family traveling, spending time by the pool, and watching my kids participate in activities.

While the summer is a nice time to rest and relax, it goes by very quickly. Before you know it the new semester is beginning. If you haven’t spent time planning and preparing, this could lead to a stressful start in the fall. So spend a little bit of time preparing for the following semester! And then get out and enjoy your summer!

Summer Reading Recommendations

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One of my favorite things about the summer months is that I have more time to read. The time that I spent during the academic year preparing lectures, reading current research, and grading papers, can now be replaced with some leisurely reading. During the school year, I am able to read a book or two a month. In the summer, I can easily read a book or two a week. I love to start every morning with a cup of coffee and a few chapters of a book. I can also be found reading a book while my kids are at swimming or diving practice or while floating in my pool on a raft. Reading goes with just about anything, right?

During the academic year, when I find a book that I want to read, I purchase and download them to my kindle or buy them and put them in a summer reading pile. Then when the spring semester ends, I dig in.

So far this summer, I have read a few books. Today, I am going to share some of the personal development books I have read so far. I recommend all three of the books below to those who seek to improve their personal or professional lifestyle.

#GirlBoss
The first book I picked up this summer was #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso. One of my friends recommended this book after we started the blog. She thought this would provide us the motivation to push through when blogging became a bit hectic or challenging. #GirlBoss detailed the life of Sophia Amoruso, a self-made millionaire, who began an online vintage clothing company. In her book, she describes how she went from being homeless and eating out of dumpsters to running a multimillion dollar business. She shares her trials and tribulations as well as successes that she experienced as she built her Nasty Gal clothing brand. This uplifting books shares Amoruso’s tips for succeeding in business and in life.

The Energy Bus
The second book I read was The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon. Gordon describes how important positive energy can be to steer life in a successful direction. Lack of positive energy can destroy businesses as well as families and friendships. Therefore, Gordon tells the story of George, and how is life is changed when he was forced to ride Joy’s Energy Bus. She shares the 10 rules for turning his professional and personal life around.
Positive Energy changes a person’s focus and perspective. Rather than focusing on negative aspects of life, Gordon encourages people to seek the positive perspective in every situation. Every leader should read and implement these rules into running successful teams. Every spouse should read and implement these rules into their family. Every person should read and implement these rules into their relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Focusing on the positive completely changes a situation – perspective is everything.

Eat That Frog!
The final book that I read, Eat that Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy, focused on time management and prioritizing daily tasks. This book has had the biggest impact on my life. Not only did this help me to reevaluate my priorities but has also helped me to focus on the important things and tackle them first – eat the biggest and ugliest frog first. I love to make To Do Lists and checking things off the list provides me a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to continue to progress through the rest of my list. But I also found that my time is often consumed by working on low-level tasks that have little impact on my long-term goals. Therefore, this book helped me to realize that I have control of my time and the choices that I make determine successful progress toward my long-term goals.

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As we continue to read this summer, we will share additional book summaries and recommendations with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your reading recommendations with us.

THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATED LINKS. THE LINKS PROVIDED ALLOW READERS TO ACCESS RESOURCES WE UTILIZE IN OUR CLASSES OR FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE AND RESEARCH BEFORE PURCHASING PRODUCTS RECOMMENDED. WE ALSO HAVE FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH MERCHANTS MENTIONED IN VARIOUS CONTENT POSTS AND MAY BE COMPENSATED IF CONSUMERS UTILIZE THE LINKS IN POSTS. YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO USE THE LINKS PROVIDED, AND THERE IS NO OBLIGATION TO BUY ANY PRODUCTS THAT WE RECOMMEND.

Is this the right position for me? Am I the “Right” Fit?

IMG_1500As an adjunct instructor,  I had the opportunity to apply for two tenure track jobs at the institution where I was teaching. I was well liked and even told I had a strong chance to get the job both times I applied. I was excited when I got to interview and even more excited when some of the full time faculty offered to help me prepare! Even with their help, I didn’t get the job. I was devastated and really did not understand what I was doing wrong. However, after the initial blow, I took some time to reflect. Every opportunity provides a chance to learn and grow. Here is what I realized: it was not that I was not good at teaching, but rather, I was not a good fit for the department.  My skills and abilities, while valued, were not a good fit. I was not the right person to help expand the department.

I’ve since earned a full time position where my skills and abilities are utilized and needed. I have exponentially increased my wheel house and have received opportunities I had not previously considered, like being a program chair. As a program chair, I’ve learned how important it is to make the right choice when hiring someone to fill a full time faculty position. In addition to the person’s ability to teach, considerations like will the individual be a good fit, expand department offerings, and serve students and the college must be considered.

Good Fit
Are you a good fit for the position you are applying for? Are you a good fit for the department? There are several things to consider to determine this:

Culture: What is the culture of the institution? the college? the department. Review the mission and vision of the university. It is also important to consider how the institution is organized as this will help to determine if you are a good fit. Will you be comfortable working in this setting?

Department: It is also important to consider who you will be working with; who are the full time faculty currently working there? What is there relationship with each other? Maybe, you have been working part-time at the university and you already have a relationship with some of the faculty. If you don’t, these may be questions to ask prior to accepting a position.

Mentor: Consider if there is anyone in the department who could become a mentor. Guidance and support are important at every step in one’s career. But, this is the most important when beginning a new job. This will help with navigating the policies and procedures, preparing for new classes, and acclimating to the new environment.

Expanding the Department
Being a great teacher isn’t enough! The expectation will be that the person who is hired knows the content and can teach. In addition to teaching, the candidate needs to fill a  niche. The department may be looking for a unique skill set such as a specific content knowledge or it may be leadership ability. Regardless, the particular niche being sought will help to expand the department. While it is important to work on developing new lectures and activities, it is equally important to develop a niche. As an adjunct, I was given this advice: ”develop a niche, decide what makes you standout and cultivate that into a need….something a department needs”.

Students
As a faculty member, students are the priority. They are the customers. Full time faculty will often be asked to advise students. They may be assigned a particular group of students as the move through their four years. They may need to help students with scheduling or provide information to help them become ready for a future careers. Overseeing research projects that involve students, sponsoring student lead clubs, and assisting students to apply to graduate school or find employment may be expected of full time faculty. The desire to assist students in their transition from backpack to briefcase cannot be forced on faculty. When faculty are simply going through the motions, this becomes apparent to students. When faculty go out of their way to provide assistance, this is also abundantly apparent to students. Taking time to assist students can be life changing for them as well as the faculty member. There is a great sense of joy when a student who you took the time to invest in and mentor experiences success.

College and University Community
Full-time faculty are responsible for serving on committees. They become part of the organization’s culture. So, when a hiring committee is looking at potential candidate, they have to consider what their new hire will contribute to the department, but also, continuations that can be made to the institution as a whole. In considering committee work that must be assigned, the hiring committee may consider how the new hire will fit. Some things that are considered include the type of committee this person could contribute to and if the potential hire will work well with other members of the institution. Often college and universities have specific needs they as well, for example they may want a candidate that volunteers in the community. Keep this in mind when applying and interviewing. How can you serve the department, the college, and the university? What do you bring to the table that separates you from your competition?

IMG_1448Every department wants and needs people with different backgrounds and diverse ideas to increase offerings and better serve the institution as a whole. So consider your strengths; your niche. When you find the right place and the right position your expertise and skills will shine, and you will LOVE the work you are doing!

Online Teaching Tips

Many people believe that teaching online is easy and requires little preparation in comparison to teaching a face to face class. However, this cannot be further from the truth. Today, we will share tips specifically for instructors teaching in the online environment!IMG_2626

Preparing for an Online Class…
While there are advantages to teaching online classes, there is still preparation involved. The online environment should be run similarly to a face to face class. Additional resources that would be located and shared in the classroom should also be provided in the online environment. When setting up and preparing a class, consider how information on each topic can be presented in the online modality. A video that is shown in class can be posted in the forum for students to review. An activity that is presented in class can be modified and posted in the forums for students to complete.

Online instructors must review the course content being covered each week including objectives, readings (textbook and additional readings, such as journal articles) and ensure that meaningful content is being provided when responding to students in the discussion forums. This allows the instructor to include additional, relevant content, ask a probing question, or provide supplementary resources, such as articles or links to videos, that relate to the weekly material. In addition, if particular objectives or topics that are part of the weekly requirements are not being adequately discussed, the instructor can provide clarification in an informative post or by posting a question to generate discussion related to the information being overlooked.

Discussion Forums:
When responding in the forums, it is occasionally appropriate to praise a student for what he or she wrote. However, this should not be the only thing the instructor posts. The instructor is paid to share knowledge, facilitate learning, and demonstrate content expertise. The forum is a great place to demonstrate content expertise and knowledge that adds to the learning experience. Posts, from the instructor, should also be substantive. Demonstrate the type of post that students should make when they respond in the forums. Share information on the topic, expand upon what a student says, share examples, and make sure to guide discussions by asking questions. Pose the questions to the whole class as this will generate further discussion. Change the subject line and invite others in the class to also contribute.

Example 1
Subject Line:
Why is it important to study this topic?
Post: Class….as future professionals in this field, why is it important to study this topic? How might this information be applied?

Example 2
Subject Line:
Weekly Wrap Up
Post: Pretend you are telling a friend about the topics studied last week. In two to four sentences, summarize the main points of the lesson.

The forum is a great place to share additional resources such as assessments, articles and videos related to the weekly topic. For example, use online assessments such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT), personality tests, and learning styles assessments when teaching my classes face to face and in an online setting. The links to these assessments can be easily posted in the forums. Students are encouraged to discuss their results or their experience after participating in the assessment. In addition, interesting videos or articles can create further discussion in the weekly forums. Ask students to watch the video or read the article and then respond with their thoughts or how the additional material pertains to the weekly topic.

There is also benefit in that the asynchronous environment. Instructors have time to research answers to questions that they may not know off the top off their heads. They have time to generate a supported response locating information in the research. The sources used to support the response such as peer-reviewed journal articles, videos, links to helpful websites, or other resources to support student learning on the topic, can be provided in the discussion forum with the instructor’s response. Time to prepare answers and locate resources ensures accuracy and relevance.

Feedback:
Feedback is another great opportunity to share content expertise and also guide students’ learning. When grading forum posts or assignments, praise students for areas where they did well and provide guidance to help them to improve in future weeks. A good rule of thumb is that any time points are deducted, a comment should be provided to explain to the student why the points were deducted and how to earn full credit in future weeks. Even if points are not being deducted, add some comments to indicate where improvements can be made.

Example:
Thank you for your contribution to the weekly discussion. Next week, please focus on generating further discussion with you peers by asking a probing question or sharing an example to illustrate the topic.

You can also demonstrate content expertise in the feedback provided when  grading assignments. Include a sentence or two summarizing a topic when  grading discussion forum posts or weekly participation. You may also include such statements when returning graded assignments. In addition to reinforcing content or correcting incorrect information that is content related, it may be necessary to guide corrections that are related to formatting or quality of writing. It is important to ensure you are providing both types of feedback. Challenge students to improve and give them specific areas  where improvements can be made.

Announcements:
Another great way to incorporate content is in the Course Announcements. Weekly announcements are crucial to successfully guiding students through the class. Many questions that students have can be answered before they are asked with a quality announcement posted as the week begins. What will students be studying? Provide a brief overview to get them excited to begin the week. Direct them to pay particular attention to certain topics they will be exploring. Direct them to a certain page in the weekly readings that contains an interesting scenario or that contains crucial information such as terms they must understand to gain a full understating of the weekly material. In the announcements, share tips for completing the weekly assignment. Provide some tips for successful completion of the assignment. It may also be helpful to attach resources to the announcements such as writing templates or study guides.

Set the Example
Students can tell when an instructor is just going through the motions when teaching a class. They will give as much effort as the instructor does (or maybe even a little bit less). So set the bar; be an example for them to follow when it comes to posting and grading. Be visible in the forums by posting on several  days each week (we recommend a minimum of four days per week with several posts each day). Respond to students in the forums in a meaningful way. This models the behavior expected of students when they post responses and participate with their peers. Review the reading material each week and tailor posts and questions to the material. Praise students for incorporating weekly topics that are not necessarily part of the discussion topic. Redirect them if they are missing the mark or not responding to the question(s) posted.

Instructors can also set an example by returning graded assignments in a reasonable timeframe (we recommend returning assignments within one week). Students are expected to submit work on time; therefore, instructors should also be expected to grade and return work in a similar manner. Not only does this help to provide guidance to students as they complete future assignments, but it also sets an example. The students will take their lead from YOU. So set a good example for them to follow.

IMG_2627You are the instructor; paid to share your knowledge. Do so! It is your duty to instruct. Remember students in your class will be your colleagues one day. Are you preparing them to be? Are they obtaining the skills necessary to be to be successful? Are they acquiring the necessary content knowledge to work and function as a professional in the field? Would you want them to be your future colleague? These are all questions that should be considered when teaching in any modality!

Accepting Teaching Contracts

olu-eletu-15018Occasionally, an adjunct instructor, who works in my college, will accept a contract that he/she is not qualified to teach. Perhaps, the instructor realizes that he/she is in over his/her head and steps down, or maybe, students begin to realize that the instructor is not being effective in the class. In this situation, students will often begin to complain, because they are not gaining the information that they should in the class. This realization and their complaints, which will be loud, frequent, and will draw attraction from others in the class, will often lead them to the dean’s office where they will share their concerns. Regardless of the outcome, this is not a good situation for an adjunct instructor to be in, especially an adjunct instructor who wishes to continue to teach in the higher education environment. This is not a “fake it ’til you make it” situation; this is a “make it or break it” situation!

Therefore….today, we will focus on only accepting contracts for classes that you are qualified to teach.

But how do you know? If you have never taught a class before or this particular class before, how do you know if you are prepared to teach it. How can you become comfortable teaching new content if you don’t gain some experience by taking a chance?

4 Ways to Determine If You Are Ready:

  1. Consider knowledge you have gained through your own education and professional experience? Have you taken  similar course in graduate school? Do you have professional experience that will assist in teaching the class?
  2. Ask to review the course syllabus (if one is available).
  3. Talk to a colleague or mentor for guidance
  4. When you are accepting a new contract/class, consider the amount of time it will take to prepare the course. Do you have adequate time to devote?

Students are the customers. Instructors are paid to provide a service. The service is their knowledge – their expertise on a particular topic. When you accept a contract to teach, you are telling the university and your students that you have knowledge on that subject to share. Students are paying for this knowledge. The university is paying you to provide it.

6 Things to Consider Before Accepting a Contract

  1. Ensure you will have plenty of time to prepare. Consider the time it will take to create objectives, a syllabus, and assessments (if there is not a centralized curriculum) as well as time it will take to prepare lessons, grade assignments, and take care of day to day clerical responsibilities.brooke-lark-194254
  2. Consider other obligations you will have during the duration of the course (work obligations, family obligations, personal obligations).
  3. Review the college calendar. Make sure you are available to attend all class meetings.
  4. Consider how you will make yourself available to students outside of class. Will you have time to meet with students – before class, after class, by phone? You must ensure that students have access to you. It does not have to be 24 hour access. But it is important to return emails and phone calls promptly and honor requests to meet with students to discuss school related matters.
  5. Access resources that are available to you. This may include resources that are available through the publisher of the textbook being used. You may also consider asking a mentor or another faculty member who teaches the course to share resources.
  6. Consider things that you can do to make time to plan and prepare for a new class. Are there things that you can remove from your “plate” to make time for planning?

Consequences of Being Unqualified or Ill-Prepared
Regardless of your reason for accepting contracts, there will be consequences for bad or ill-prepared instruction or lack of preparedness. You may receive bad reviews or evaluations from your students or a mentor assigned from the college, who is observing your class. In addition to bad evaluations, student may complain. Their complaints may lead to further investigation from faculty or administration in the college. This could impact your ability to teach for the college in the future. The department or college may not offer opportunities to teach in the future. Ultimately, this could ruin your opportunity to be invited back to teach in the future, which could also impact future career goals if you wish to be hired to teach full time at the university.

You are making your mark with every class you teach. Make sure you are making the mark that increases your chances of being invited back. Make sure you are making the mark that will increase your chances of gaining full time employment with the university.

Photo Credit: @flenjoore & @brookelark

Part 2: Preparing for a Teaching Audition

IMG_2541As a follow up to our previous blog, Preparing for a Teaching Audition, here is additional information to help as you get ready for a teaching audition.

We have prepared lessons for teaching auditions for our own job interviews, and we have helped colleagues and adjuncts prepare for them. In addition, we have participated in evaluating countless teaching auditions from a variety of disciplines. From our experiences, here are several suggestions to consider when preparing a lesson for a teaching audition.

Explain Where/How Your Teach Fits
Prior to starting the lesson, tell the committee what you will be teaching and how it fits into the semester long course curriculum. What did students learn before this lesson and at what point in the semester would students be exposed to this topic/information? This only takes a minute to explain, but it definitely helps to set the tone and establishes the committees’ expectations.

Remember: Don’t forget to tell the committee that you plan to treat them like students.

Prepare for a Diverse Audience
Hiring committees are comprised of administrators and faculty from within the college. They may also include staff or faculty from other departments. They are your students. Treat them like your students. Thoroughly describe topics and concepts. Do not leave out important details because of the assumption that “these are faculty” and “they know this information”.

Remember: Be thorough! Describe and explain concepts clearly and completely!

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Be Dynamic
Demonstrate your content expertise by clearly describing and explaining concepts. Also, consider demonstrating content expertise by selecting a video or interactive activity. Remember to use balance! Provide a lecture that demonstrates your ability to explain concepts, but also include other tools that might help to illustrate or apply concepts you are teaching.

Remember: If you are bored, so is your audience. As you prepare, ask yourself – would I be attentive and engaged in this lesson? Would I want to be a student in this class?

Preparing For A Committee You Know
If you have been an adjunct instructor at the institution where you are auditioning, teaching a lesson to your colleagues may be awkward. It can be more difficult to talk about yourself and your accomplishments. But remember, you are competing for a position, so make sure you stand out. So proudly and confidently share your accomplishments. In addition, demonstrate your ability to present your content, be dynamic, and manage the classroom environment. This may even mean calling on someone who is on the phone to ensure they remain engaged in your lesson. If you catch them on their phone, tell them to put it away!

Remember: You are competing for a full time position! Present your lesson and share accomplishments and contributions that demonstrate your effectiveness in the classroom and as a faculty member. Pretend like your audience knows nothing about you. Do not leave out important details.

Preparing For An Interview Where You Know No One
If you don’t know anyone, this can make it easier to sell yourself, because you realize you need to share everything about yourself and your accomplishments However, this can also be intimidating for different reasons. You may wonder how conservative or liberal the committee members are or what topics are considered taboo. For this reason, play it safe! Choose a safe topic and stick to textbook examples while still demonstrating effective teaching by implementing lecture as well as videos to illustrate and interactive activities to apply the information.

Remember: Choose a safe topic that you are knowledgeable about to demonstrate your content expertise and ability to make a lesson engaging and applicable.

Be True to You
I was recently helping a colleague prepare a micro teach for a committee. They did not know anyone on the committee. He asked me if he should try to be funny and incorporate humor in his lesson. I asked him if he considered himself humorous and if students ever described him as funny. He told me no! In fact, he was only going to do it to please the committee. I explained that he needed to be himself. If you are funny be funny, if you are not funny don’t try to be funny!

Remember: Be yourself! This will help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed, which will make the presentation go more smoothly.

Faculty and administrators want to learn new content in an interactive and engaging way. They entertained, feel valued, and enjoy learning – just like students! The best presentations do all three demonstrating the candidate’s strengths and enthusiasm for the topic.

6 Things Educators in Higher Ed Should Do This Summer

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What are your summer plans? Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to? Are you planning a fun vacation with your family or friends? Have you created a “To Do” list of chores and projects that you need to complete at home? Will you teach summer classes or spend time prepping for the fall semester?

Here are six practical things we recommend you do this summer:

1. Teach Summer Classes
Summer classes are offered in various modalities. You may find opportunities to teach on ground. Most colleges will offer two summer sessions. You may also have the opportunity to teach online classes in your discipline. This is a great way to supplement your income. It is also a great way to gain experience teaching new classes that you have not prepped for and taught previously. Inquire about opportunities to teach summer classes.

2. Prepare and Plan
In the summer, we like to prepare for the next semester by doing some lesson planning. We consider new activities that we can implement in our classes. We also look for new videos show that relate to our content. By preparing and planning in the summer, we can rest assured that lectures, powerpoints, videos, activities, resources and assessments are updated for the following year.

3. Curriculum Development
This is also a great time to work on projects, such as course development or curriculum revisions. If the university has standardized curriculum, there may be opportunities to help to make the necessary revisions and updates. Textbooks used in courses are often updated, because new editions are published. The curriculum may need to be slightly modified to coincide with the revision of the textbook. Assignments may also need to be updated or revised. Grading rubrics may need to be created or revised to accurately assess and score assignments.

4. Research
This is also a great time to work on research projects. Planning research projects. Conducting a literature review on topics of interest. Writing proposals for conferences you wish to attend. Researching different conferences within your discipline or related to higher education can also be done in the summer. This allows for adequate time to prepare proposals that can be submitted for consideration.

5. Professional Development
Attend a conference. Present at a conference. These are great ways to remain current in your field and to network with other professionals in the field. Conduct a web search for conferences for higher education professionals.

All of the tasks listed above have professional benefit. When is the last time you updated your CV or resume? This is something that is easy to overlook. The CV or resume is often not considered until it is needed. The summer months provide a great time to update your CV or resume to reflect professional activities such as classes taught, curriculum developed, and research participation. An updated CV or resume could be used to apply for positions that may become available during the summer months. Continue to look for openings at local colleges and universities.

6. Rest and Recharge
While planning and preparing for the following semester can help to reduce stress at the beginning of the semester and during the school year, it is also important to spend some time recharging. Teaching is a lifestyle! Summer vacation does not necessary equate to several months of time off, but it does usually mean a more flexible schedule. Spend some time doing things that you enjoy. Take a vacation, spend time with family, catch up with friends. Read a book for pleasure. Take a yoga class. Get a massage. Try something new – something that you have been considering but just haven’t gotten around to – and DO IT! Begin the new semester, rested, refreshed, and recharged!IMG_4116

Photo Credit: @snapshot_factory & @iamkiran