Tuesday, I had a review of my first semester with the Dean, Ms. Gibson.
She observed a dual credit Texas Government class, and I went into the meeting knowing that it… sucked.
The topic that day (Public Policy) was fairly easy to grasp, and we had gone over the definition and concrete concepts when she arrived. The rest of the class was spent going over the real-life applications; we read articles on welfare, laws regarding immigration, etc., which were informational, but not very performance-heavy on my part. And I didn’t talk much about how each program tied back in to the larger topic.
The Dean noted all of these things, but presented them in an incredibly constructive way. I was so grateful. (Especially because I was a ball of nerves, expecting her to be as hyper-critical as I am of myself)
During the “what to improve” phase of the meeting, Ms. Gibson gave me direction, tips, and the advice that i should be more clear and reinforce the main points of my lectures. I’ve struggled with this before: i expect everyone to be on my page already, so I cut to the end skip examination… it happened with my ‘Living Gold’ idea; it’s happened in relationships; and it happened in more than one law school essay.
I have to focus on being more clear. I have to analyze more and summarize less. Even though I tell the students to come prepared (i.e., having read and with a basic understanding of the day’s lecture topic), I cannot forget (1) all the years I spent building the knowledge base I currently have, and (2) to lay the same groundwork, as soundly as possible, for the new minds under my care.
I just have to slow down & put a governor on the racecar btwn my ears!
I can do that!
After the “can do better” portion, Ms. Gibson pointed out my strengths. And, to be honest, I was incredibly glad to hear “engaging,” “passionate,” and “intangibles” come out of her mouth. With those under my belt, it’s onward and upward from here.
It was later explained to me that performance reviews usually have a script that evaluators follow: “I see you can improve here. (Potential for hurt) I see what you do really well. (Heal the hurt)” Regardless of that, I really appreciated how the Dean conducted our meeting. I left feeling positive about my potential to grow and grateful for the feedback and leadership she provided.
Ms. Gibson has years and years of experience at the collegiate level, so her opinions and observations are, in my eyes, invaluable to my future success as a professor.
I started this semester wide-eyed and enthusiastic, similar to the freshmen I encountered on campus. And I am happy to feel the same enthusiasm after my first journey through the fire. I’ll never be a n00b again.
Professor H is in the hizzouse.