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My inquiry eFolio for ETEC 533

  • Writer's pictureDr. Sarah McLean

The beauty of brainstorming

Updated: Oct 26, 2018

I am a "big picture" kind of thinker, but having someone to collaborate with and bounce ideas off of makes my job 1000X better (and easier!)

I am one of two faculty members in a large interdisciplinary module at a research-intensive university. We don't have a department, and we are contract faculty. You might think, "pfft, one of two faculty members, so what?". Well, 180 students in 4th year (and approximately 150 students in 3rd year) who are looking for mentorship and growth is "what". Sometimes I worry that I will get burned out (my husband worries about this too). But to be honest, if you do what you love it is easy. Nope, that is not true at all. Even if you do what you love, it can still be hard day in and day out. That is why it is important to find your work better half. I am lucky that my "work wife" is my fellow faculty member in my module (the blonde in the picture above, and no, we did not colour coordinate our outfits purposefully that day).

Find that person who challenges you- who makes you think through your ideas, but will support you no matter what.

Whereas I often have big ideas but have challenges with follow through, Dr. Nicole Campbell helps me stay organized and on top of my work. No, she does not micromanage me (not in the least!) but seeing her commitment to her students and how she organizes her lessons helps me keep my head in the clouds but my feet on the ground.

I remember when she got hired, and I was like "Wow, this person is simply a better version of me." She has great credentials, is personable, relates well to her students, is a fabulous writer, and is incredibly bright. But you know what? Instead of seeing her as a threat, she is my greatest asset. We are an unstoppable team, and the two of us have done great things with our program. We both take a student-centred approach to teaching and learning. We believe in authentic assessments that are meaningful. We believe in giving students quality feedback so that they can improve. Yes, these things all take time. (I have stopped wondering why some faculty simply give multiple choice midterms and finals- they take fare less time to mark). But we both believe that teaching is a privilege, and that we have the power to help our students reach their potential. Not a small feat, right?

So when I get bogged down with marking (yep, I will be marking tonight), I try to think of the positive changes that we have made in tour program. I also think about how if I need to vent she is just a text (or a beer at the grad club) away.

Folks, let's stop seeing one another as competition, and rather, let's boost each other up for the greater good. It makes the ride that much more enjoyable.

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