Playing Catch Up

I’ve missed the last few days of the #reflectiveteacher blogging challenge, so here are very brief responses to the prompts.

Day 7: most inspirational colleague. I’ve been so fortunate to work with Rick Hansen, a generous colleague who has taught me so much about the teaching of writing. Conversations with Rick have helped me integrate all the pieces of writing instruction that I had learned over the years to create a more cohesive, overarching philosophy for teaching.

Day 8: what’s in my desk drawer and what does that say about me. My desk drawers are a mess. I rarely even look at them. What’s more important are the papers on my desk and throughout my house. I guess the contents of my desk drawer illustrate how busy I am and the essential role of thinking/planning in my life. I can’t put that away and close the drawer. Work is always on my mind.

Day 9: biggest accomplishment in teaching that no one knows about. I’m really proud that I’m willing to take risks in my teaching. Sometimes I ask to teach a class because I want to know more about the topic. Sometimes I plan assignments because I want to learn about how they work with students. I always update my syllabi, even if I’ve just taught the class. I reflect and try new things–and that keeps me always interested in teaching and always on the edge of failure. I think the willingness to take risks translates to a willingness to fail–and we all learn as much if not more by failing as we do when we succeed.

Day 10: Stay with me on this one

Five random facts:

  • I love alternative music (modern rock, indie, whatever you want to call it.
  • I’ve lived in three countries, the USA, Norway, and Portugal–and I love to travel.
  • I’m obsessed with cookbooks, but I don’t cook very often.
  • I love reading Scandinavian crime fiction.
  • I’ve dogsledded in the Arctic, near the North Pole.

Four things from my bucket list:

  • I want to go to Iceland.
  • I want to see the Northern Lights.
  • I’d like to live abroad again.
  • I’d like to have dinner at Noma in Copenhagen, considered the best restaurant in the world.

Three things I hope for this year, personal or professional:

  • I hope to find the missing information in my research on Julia Pastrana on my trip to Annapolis this year.
  • I hope to spend a month abroad next summer.
  • I hope to deepen my knowledge about connected learning/digital humanities/teaching with technology this year

Two things that made me laugh/cry as an educator:

  • I laugh about some of the crazy things I say to surprise my students (like how I’m James Gee’s fangirl).
  • I cry (or feel deeply) about how my work has such tangible results–that I’m able to see how my work has influenced local teachers.

One thing I wish more people knew about me:

  • I have a hard time asking for help, so I appreciate it when people offer.

One Comment

  1. Kathee: I have been following your posts (they’re great), and I just had to comment on this one.

    I enjoyed every professor I had at Fresno State and count some of them as friends. But your mention of Rick Hanson really struck a chord in me.

    I learned a lot about teaching from him, but what I wanted to share was that when I was interviewing for jobs, I just popped into his office one day with the prompt from COS (which was about teaching paraphrase) and asked him to help. I was trying to wrap my mind around a 20 minute “meaningful” exercise on a subject that everyone knows takes much longer to teach.

    I don’t remember what he was doing, but he stopped and took the time to walk me though my thoughts, helping me prioritize what to try to accomplish. He reminded me to work backward in managed steps, building the scaffolding.

    Looking back now, it seems sort of a small thing–he probably doesn’t even remember. I was there maybe 5-10 minutes. But I left with a plan and with confidence.

    Many people conspired to help me get the job I have, including you and Tony Michel and many others. But I also remember the feeling I had leaving Rick’s office. It really takes an extraordinary sort of educator to be able to impart (instill, help find) the elusive qualities of ability and confidence in a student and I will always be grateful he took the time for me that day.

    Thanks for reminding me of it.

    Dave Hurst

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *