I'm struggling a bit with the style of the LM classes and how I bring content to life. When I teach BA 3000 or facilitate the LeaderShape curriculum, I bring the content to life by telling my own stories and that's the real skill in facilitating. In the LM, it seems like we let the students come to their own conclusions. I see them struggling with some of the activities and I want to call out obvious "Why do you think we do this?" and "How does this relate to the real world?" questions. I'm still figuring out if that's the style of the LM courses or just Brian's style.
It occurred to me that my traditional teaching experience this far has conditioned me to over-prep students before assignments are due. In my head, that's because I want them to succeed in assignments and to not waste time in redoing. In the LM, the opposite assumption is true. We want them to "think they're done;" reflect on the process of the assignment; and then do it again with deeper context and reflection. It's a lesson on continual learning that I need to take heed of!
Last night was the first class where I really felt the myself struggle with case in point. We had the laptop cart in class for the first 30 min and half of the computers didn't work. That created some tension among students and especially for Brian. We introduced ChimeIn and students decided to use it to check for agreement about the attendance policy. No one really knew what the attendance policy was, but they unanimously voted that they agreed to it. Brian held the space beautifully for them to struggle and I was checked out in my role as instructor at that point because I knew that if I tried to jump in, I would taint the tone of the room and possibly undo the work that Brian had built.
Driving home, I was agitated, but thought about how this must be like what people new to LeaderShape feel and how we tell them to "trust the process." So, I'm challenging myself to trust the process of the LM.
I struggle when students come up after class and ask me specific questions about assignments. I don't know if I'm supposed to answer or let them figure it out. My style is to give direct information, but it's different from Brian's. I am learning how to teach in this new model and the bigger struggle is how to team teach a class. I feel like we need to have a retro about the first 3 weeks or an expectations conversation about my role, my need to prep for class, and my appropriate response to students' questions. I don't want to present as a junior instructor, but that's clearly how class is set up (a seed planted by Brent Opall.) How can the LM fix that? Does there need to be more energy into new instructor development or team dynamics? Maybe instead of so many observations, we first act as junior instructors or apprentices?
I can't believe that I was sick (like food poisoning) for our first day of class, but I was. I'd like to try to recap little things that we do in class each day so that I have a record of when to cover what and how.
Week 1, Day 1: Introductions - names (discuss why it's important to know people's names in a leadership class rather than biology class?); conversation about the way the class is organized; experiential; syllabus, Moodle, eReserve, have them take name tents home to make a name tent for the next day with alliterative alias (Kick-ass Katie), leadership symbol (rolodex), one word about something that you value, and strengths on the back, in themes if possible.
Week 1, Day 2: Who are we missing and who's new; (talk more about why we do that,) introduce alliterative aliases and play the name game all around the room; address syllabus questions: what's expected for reading notes & reflection notes, overview of schedule; discussion about attendance policy; pop quiz: when are reading notes due?
Through this blog, I hope to keep notes on my experiences teaching in the Leadership Minor, so that I can go back and improve on teaching in future years, remember what we did and how we did it, and also have some substantive responses when the LM asks me for feedback!
I'm excited to learn to teach in this new way. It occurs to me that LeaderShape is much more about delivering curriculum and developing my own personal stories to bring the curriculum to life. So far, in the LM I feel like the articles tell the stories of the concepts and our task is to create an environment where students can really experience, feel, taste, and smell what it's like to lead people and to realize their struggles. That being said, the LM style of teaching is new to me and I'm trying to hold myself back from just giving students the answers or worrying about covering content too quickly. I'm excited to have Brian at my side so I can learn from his experience and energy.
The co-instructor piece is also something I'm worried about, just because it takes so much extra work to discuss what happened in each class, what will happen in upcoming weeks, making sure we have consistent grading and responses to classroom management issues. All of this is a new experience for me, so I'm trying to make myself available to do the work (grading, attendance, Moodle) although I sometimes don't feel like I know what's going on. Thank heaven that I have a co-instructor whom I can be honest with and enjoy spending time with!