I was listening to one of my all time favourite bands the other day, Nahko and Medicine for the People, and one line stood out to me and instantly made me want to write a blog post. Something that doesn’t happen as often anymore.
“I come to teach, come to be taught”
Simple words that I realised are very relevant to my career as a teaching academic. It is easy to get bogged down by teaching loads. I teach over six courses a year, with 100s of students, and I (like many others) teach online. Teaching periods merged into the next, assessments keep coming… students, despite my best effort, become names. It is easy for the good parts of teaching to get lost amongst administration. Now I know that the green is not always greener, but I dream of being an academic in one of those European universities that look like Hogwarts, where there are small classes that have fruitful debates between academics and students around a round table. Well, at least that is what television and movies make it look like. The show Normal People made me want to buy a ticket to Dublin to work at Trinity College immediately. Not, just because of the stunning architecture, but because of those fruitful discussions that I often feel is lacking in my own teaching- because the focus always seems to be on the assessment, on the answer, not how to get there. I want to learn from my students as much as they learn from me. I can’t have a physical round table in the online learning space, and A-synchronous learning is also a barrier to debates and engaging discussions. But I am trying to work with what I have… Trying to actively provide students with the opportunity to “teach” me. I think the first step is knowing what I want to do, now I just have to figure out how to do it.