A Sneak-in Post: Teaching Philosophy, Words, Excellence and Reviews!

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012 in General, General College Success/Responses to Other College Entities | 10 comments

What a week of awesome surprises!

(Hi, all… I know I said I’d be taking the week off, but I couldn’t resist a sneak-in post to recap some things that took me by surprise this week. Yes, I did take a small mom-cation for a couple of days. But here were some other bright spots in my world that I couldn’t wait to share with you… I rarely do the listing posts, but thought it might be a nice vacation-y thing to do. So, have fun! See you next week for regularly scheduled programming.)

Staying off my laptop is nearly an impossible feat for me, particularly when I take it on vacation for movies.

Not to mention, I’m waking up between 5-6 a.m. these days thanks to this habit created by my 4-year-old. So when the mom that I’m mom-cationing with sleeps in a bit longer (sooo jealous!), the temptation to meander over to Twitter or e-mail is oh, so rich. Here are conversations I found myself having there this week and enjoyed them very much!

1.  Colleagues, when was the last time you talked or wrote about your teaching philosophy? For me? I can tell you exactly when: In 2000, then 2002, then 2004. And not again since. Why the precise years? Because those were the three times I was out on the academic job market. Dr. Beth DeLisle (formerly Semic), one of my favorite grad school profs, gave me the brilliant idea to send a community college teaching philosophy with my academic application packets. So, I did. I scored interviews, then jobs. I never thought about the document again (but, to be clear, I have thought about my teaching again… every day, in fact!). Then I saw Eric Clark’s (Eastern Nazarene College; Quincy Tutoring–follow him at @EA_Clark) thoughtful post “Philosophy of Education”. Eric was interviewing for an adjunct position recently and had an opportunity to rethink his role as a teacher, mentor, and advocate. Read this post and reflect on your teaching philosophy. I’m going to!

2. Are you talking or thinking about excellence? Okay, maybe you aren’t going around talking about how excellent you are, but I hope you are thinking about it! Bestcollegesonline.com called my attention to an awesome post that encapsulated The 10 Best Books About Excellence. The most interesting things about these types of lists? You get the benefit of the information, and you can critically review if you think other books could be added to the “best” list.

3. I’m excitedly talking about vocabulary this week, believe it or not. Okay, I probably just lost you with that one word. But what if I said, “Vocabulary practice books with real-world examples that include the likes of Lady Gaga, Harry Potter, and Glee”? Published by Direct Hits Education, these books are primarily used for high-stakes exams (think SAT), but as I look these small, digestible volumes (which I’m going to blog about more extensively in another couple of weeks), I see even wider creative uses for them. Communication is about expanding our words after all, right? It’s not a bad thing to speak in a florid way–like the Twilight series! (Yes, that’s a very, very brief direct example of the book–how cool of a retention-connection is that for our teens? Uh oh… am I no longer cool because I used the word ‘cool’? Don’t answer.)

4. The last thing I’m saying this week: Thank you! And I’ve gotten to say it three times! Why? Because I received three incredible reviews of “Say This, NOT That to Your Professor” and I wanted to share them with you. They came from some pretty diverse perspectives:

Parenting blogger Dominique Goh (@dominiquegoh) says: “I wasn’t a Grade A student while I was in college. Even though I didn’t get into trouble with professors or fellow students, it would be great to know how I could maximize my relationships with my professors so that I could perform better and get a better report card.” Read more of Dominique’s review.

Professor Kenna Griffin (@profkrg) writes: “Here’s one thing I know for sure: Your professors do not have all of the answers (to big or little questions), but we do legitimately want to help you. . . .  This book should be required reading in all freshman orientation courses and for all first-time faculty members. It truly will help students and faculty navigate some of their most stressful professional communications.” Read more of Professor Griffin’s review here.

Melissa Venable, Ph.D. at OnlineCollege.org (@Melissa_Venable, @OC_org) reviews for students and faculty from an online perspective: “Think of Say This, NOT That to Your Professor as a resource manual. Access when you need it to inform your approach to addressing a specific concern in your course with your instructor. When used effectively, this guide could help you build the skills and confidence required for successful communication, even at a distance.”

Lucky, lucky me to have all these incredible reviews and resources at my fingertips this week. Anything to add? Comment away… See you next week!

PS: I’ve heard about quite a few young teens starting up Say This, NOT That to Your Professor this past week. For parents of students just becoming a junior or senior, take a look inside. What chapters do you think could be started in high school?



  1. I’m sharing this with some wonderful teachers I know. Now, since I know them, some of them are retired, but it’s still okay to share, isn’t it?

    • Hello, Van,

      Thank you so much for writing, and yes, of course… retired teachers are always teachers! In fact, at my college, many “retired” teachers are still teaching part-time!


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