Priceless Gift Exchanges between Faculty and Students

This article first appeared in the Teaching Professor on December 13, 2017. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved. 

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Teachers and students can give each other priceless gifts. “Professor Jones changed my life!” The comment is usually followed by the story of a teacher in love with content, students, and learning. How many times have I told the story of my advisor who was the first person to suggest I could be a college professor? We love to hear and tell these stories because they are remarkable and inspiring. A student and a teacher connect during one small segment of the student’s life, yet through that tiny window of time can blow a gust strong enough to change the direction of that life.

And students gift us with stories that bear witness to life-changing encounters with teachers. I recently read Fred Heppner’s description of the three teachers who changed his life.

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Five Things to Do During the Grumpy Time of the Semester

If you have taught before, then you are familiar with the grumpy time of the semester. This is when the semester starts to feel long. It is usually about two-thirds to three-quarters of the way through the semester when we (and our students) start to feel a little grumpier. We believe there is value in acknowledging this eventuality, naming it, and then proactively and intentionally devising plans for what to do when we get into the grumpy time of the semester. Generally speaking, we advocate for the infusion of empathy (one’s ability to take on the cognitive and emotional perspective of others; e.g., Elliot et al., 2011) into all parts of our courses (see Saucier et al., 2022 for a discussion of the empathetic course design perspective). This ranges from our syllabi to our course structures and policies, to our assignments and assessments. We work hard to proactively and intentionally

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Appreciating Our Colleagues | Faculty Focus

This article first appeared in Maryellen Weimer’s blog in November 2009. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.

I appreciate what my colleagues do for me.

I have colleagues who indulge my need to blow off steam. Some student behavior is nothing short of outrageous, some department policies are nothing short of senseless, some department heads are nothing other than shortsighted, and some colleagues never experience a shortage of pessimism. My best colleagues know when I need to rant; they listen and then gently encourage me to move on.

I have colleagues who help me understand when I don’t. I talk and they ask questions. I’ve learned to appreciate those colleagues who have more questions than answers—the ones who ask the questions I haven’t thought of, which often lead me to answers I haven’t considered.

I have colleagues who help me put things in perspective. Like many (dare I say all?)

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