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Cohen - The missing link: librarians and the teaching identity


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Cohen - The missing link: librarians and the teaching identity

  1. 1. THE MISSING LINKLibrarians and the Teaching IdentitySarah Faye CohenChamplain College, Burlington, Vermont
  2. 2. • Why focus on developingSessionGoals the teaching identity?What are we here to talkabout today? • How can we cultivate the teaching identity? • What are obstacles to cultivating the teaching identity, said and unsaid? • What are the results of this work?
  3. 3. Why focus on developingthe teaching identity?In two parts.
  4. 4. 1. Professionally and logistically• Combats burnout and isolation.• Improves effectiveness in the classroom.• Facilitates collaboration and “groupthink” for more diversity of ideas.
  5. 5. Butwhatis“teachingidentity”?
  6. 6. “We rarely talk with each other aboutteaching at any depth—and why should wewhen we have nothing more than ‘tips,tricks, and techniques’ to discuss? That kindof talk fails to touch the heart of the teacher’sexperience.” (The Courage to Teach, 13)
  7. 7. “the heart of the teacher’s experience” • What does it mean to be teaching librarian? • What does it mean to be a teacher? • Are you a teacher? • What does that look like, sound like, feel like, taste like?
  8. 8. Getting things out in the open.
  9. 9. Exposing the truth behind ourchallenges
  10. 10. Is it something else? A crisis.• Fear • A fear of obsolescence • A fear of not knowing • A fear vulnerability • A fear of judgment• Lack • A lack of confidence • A lack of voice • A lack of agency • A lack of faith in ourselves as teachers
  11. 11. A clean start to a difficult topic.
  12. 12. At the elemental level. “Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if you keep digging.” (Marcus Aurelius)• To understand our students, our objectives, our pedagogy, and our teaching, we need to understand ourselves.
  13. 13. HOW DO WE DO THAT?
  14. 14. Define your community
  15. 15. Standing Meetings • Specific time for the people who teach to address teaching • Time to acknowledge, vent, experiment, design, share • Expression of value and importance
  16. 16. Group Readings• Why? • The group that reads together, stays together. • An environment that is informal, relaxed, and supportive.• How • A book of one’s own • Various formats • Using meeting time to read • Focused.
  17. 17. What to read:• Pieces that address our challenges, not reinforce our expertise. • Exploring yourself as a teacher: The Courage to Teach • Who are today’s students? Born Digital • Helping students to “get it” Made to Stick • Unplugging: Hamlet’s Blackberry
  18. 18. Developing a Teaching Philosophy • Motivation. • What is your “modus operandi” for being in the classroom? • Vision for the classroom and teaching experience. • A focus on you, not the students.
  19. 19. Debrief sessions• Designing sessions are a process, not a product.• Before • What is our “CI” and our “takeaway”? • What learning styles are we addressing? • What problems can we anticipate?• After • What worked? What didn’t? • What will I do differently? • What will I do again?
  20. 20. Peer to Peer Observations• An opportunity to learn about the physical • Non-verbal communication • Intonation• Back of the room view of students• What will I try from their way of teaching?
  21. 21. What observations are not.
  22. 22. My own learning experience
  23. 23. The tenor of the conversation• Listening• Safe spaces: a judgment free zone• Welcome challenges and failures• Marinating• Conflict as a need expressed in another direction
  25. 25. Give voice• Nostalgia• Animosity• Hard conversations• Open-ended questions• “Not our problem to solve.”• Uncertainty
  26. 26. Embedding reflection
  28. 28. Common Obstacles• Time• “I’m fine in the classroom.”• “I don’t need help.”• “I have nothing to learn from them.”• Not supported• Not important to my evaluations
  29. 29. Fear of the unknown andunchartered
  30. 30. IS IT WORTH IT?
  31. 31. Yes. And we will do it together.
  32. 32. What do we get out of this work?• Teams • Authentic support • Collaboration • Creativity • Trust• Confidence• Better teachers• Fun
  33. 33. How do you know?• Word of mouth• Statistics speak• Reference• Distributive leadership• Stronger sense of teaching community
  34. 34. HOW CAN YOU BEGIN?
  35. 35. Start here
  36. 36. Share your experience
  37. 37. Invite others
  38. 38. Persist
  39. 39. “We cannot know the greatthings of the universe until weknow ourselves to be greatthings.” (The Courage to Teach, 113)
  40. 40. THANK YOU. Always happy to talk further. @thesheck
  41. 41. I’D LOVE YOUR HELP.• What do you consider to be the obstacles to teaching identity work?• What kinds of research would help shed light on this issue?• What would support for teaching identity work look like at UK libraries?• How can we demystify this work and how can we help it gain traction in the academy?