Building KU's Teaching and Learning Community

2-Minute Mentor: Representing Your Teaching

Representing your teaching

  • Student evaluations are a limited source
  • Peer reviews provide a better picture and give useful feedback
  • Start collecting materials your first year
  • You are on a trajectory: becoming a good teacher is a process

Click below to watch CTE’s 2-Minute Mentor video on this topic:

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Representing Teaching in Your Progress Toward Tenure Review video transcript (doc)

How do I provide an accurate reflection of my teaching?

First, remember that good teaching involves far more than just speaking in front of a class. Your syllabus, class materials and student assignments all provide evidence of the work you do as a teacher. Here are some tips for helping you prepare for your review.

 

Start early

Don’t wait until your third-year or tenure review to assemble your teaching material. The earlier you get started, the easier it will be to represent your teaching in an effective way. Create folders (physical and virtual) for copies of your syllabi, student assignments, rubrics and related course material. That way you will know where to find everything.

Create a log of your teaching evaluations

We all have rough semesters, so it’s important to be able to show that your teaching improves over time or that you make adjustments after difficult semesters. By logging key evaluation scores in a spreadsheet or on the tenure review form, you can easily compare your evaluations semester by semester. That will help in your evaluation process, but it will also help you spot both good and bad trends in your work with students.

Keep a teaching diary

Make notes about how assignments worked or didn’t work. Write about successes and failures. Taking just a few minutes after class to write down thoughts or notes helps create a resource you can use to improve your class the next time and to show evaluation committees that you are serious about your teaching.

Gather additional feedback from students

Formal evaluations provide little space for students to write comments, so consider passing out notecards or sheets of paper and asking to students to provide comments about your class. What went well in the class and what needs work? What’s the most important thing students learned this semester? What would they tell students who take the class in future semesters? This sort of feedback can be an especially useful tool at midterm, allowing you to make any adjustments in the class.

 

How can I find someone to evaluate my teaching?

Just ask. Most faculty members are willing to help, as they have all needed the same sort of feedback at some time. Reach out to a colleague you trust. A classroom evaluation can make you feel vulnerable, and having a trusted colleague evaluating your work can make the process easier.

You can also reach out to CTE. We work with instructors in all departments on campus and can often suggest someone to work with. CTE oversees Teaching Triads, which group three instructors with similar interests and help them provide feedback to one another.

You might also consider making a recording of a class session or two and having a colleague provide feedback based on it. You can also learn from the video, as well.

 

How do I explain a bad semester?

Be honest. No one expects perfection. Explain what went wrong and what you learned from the experience. How did you change the class in future semesters? How did those adjustments work?

Teaching is always a work in progress. One of the most important things you can do is to document your work so you can explain it not only to tenure committees but to yourself.

 

More about representing your teaching

The following link provides more information related to representing your teaching:

Additional materials are available in CTE’s Essential Guide to Teaching.


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