Teaching Tips

This week, the Faculty Mentoring Program wrapped up the semester with a workshop that looked forward to summer planning for professional and personal goals. Julie Mendez Smith, Professor of Psychology, provided a robust framework that could not be covered in the space of the teaching tips, but here are a few related tips for planning for the summer:

Write Down and Reflect on YOUR Personal and Professional Needs. Most advice online focuses on the language of productivity in terms of getting the most out of writing and research, but we all will have different contexts for what qualify as “needs” for any given break. Whether you need more unplugged time, more writing time, more course design time, or something else will depend on you. It’s important to acknowledge this upfront. Most importantly, and this comes straight from Julie’s thoughtful framing for the Faculty Mentoring folks – your planning for summer should reflect what is most important to you, not some other ideal of what it should be.

Match Needs to Time. It helps to start with a realistic sense of the time that you have in the summer.  Not everyone has the same amount of time in the thing that we collectively call “summer.” Don’t set yourself up for frustration by imagining the summer as an eternal fountain of productivity. Reasonable expectations can make the summer more productive, while also helping you avoid despair in August.

Support and Accountability. As with all these things, you are likely to be the best judge of what helps you stay accountable to your plans, but one clear, consistent benefit comes from involving other people in your plans. This could mean a writing group, a mentor, a hiking buddy, or something else entirely, but like-minded companions can go a long way for both support and accountability.

If you are looking for support and accountability, then the UTLC is happy to help. Consider signing up for one our summer institutes in May to get started on your goals.

Best of luck for a happy and productive summer!

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