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Keeping it Real

To my relief am finally finished teaching for the semester.  Teaching is more stressful than other parts of my job.  But, as both a professional and as a person, I think that I grow the most through teaching.

I have heard that you never really know something until you teach it. There is a lot of truth in this. I think I am gaining a much better understanding of what information literacy is and how it influences our daily lives.

Teaching the same session over and over can become pretty dull, but it also helps you to polish the session and find your groove.  Every first-year session I did went well, but I think that I really found my groove in the last one. I knew what I wanted to get across and even kept it interesting by telling related anecdotes from my own life or even stupid jokes. This makes a session more personal and less robotic.  By bringing your real self into the classroom you are able to connect better with students.

One example was when I was talking about finding information.  I told them that they were not just looking for stuff but the right stuff.  Like the New Kids on the Block. Then I sang the “oh, oh, oh, oh, oh” part of the chorus.  It was super lame, but I got a few pity laughs.  And the students knew I wasn’t some phony preaching to them. I was just a dude having a discussion with them about information.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the script or lesson plan and just go through the motions, but if you can personalize it and actually put yourself into your teaching, you will serve the students much better.

I am looking forward to the holidays and a little break from teaching though.  I need to recharge for next semester.

Andy Burkhardt

2 Comments

  1. Glad you found your groove, Andy. As much as we might want to fine tune the lesson plan or get prepared, nothing quite gets you ready for the vibe that is created in the classroom. What you do with the plans we create is what students really latch on to. Parker Palmer talked about it in terms of vulnerability and authenticity. Putting ourselves out there and being real. And you are REAL: real awesome, that is. Rest up…there’s more where that came from!

  2. Glad you found your groove, Andy. As much as we might want to fine tune the lesson plan or get prepared, nothing quite gets you ready for the vibe that is created in the classroom. What you do with the plans we create is what students really latch on to. Parker Palmer talked about it in terms of vulnerability and authenticity. Putting ourselves out there and being real. And you are REAL: real awesome, that is. Rest up…there’s more where that came from!

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