Just a short little post here (I start teaching my summer class in about 40 minutes), but I wanted to share the good, the bad, and the ugly from the GLCTL this last weekend. This is the first time that I have attended a conference without being a presenter, so it was an interesting and different experience.
First the good. There were several presenters that did a great job of describing how learning works in varying detail and how to utilize that in the classroom. Perhaps the most fascinating has a link to the slideshow here. Others did presentations along similar lines that were equally enlightening.
Now, the bad. There were also several presenters that followed the “I did this once and it worked” model of presentation. That’s not terribly helpful. There’s nothing generalizable about that. It’s frustrating when a session sounds like it is about to be good and then it falls flat on its face because it’s just a series of anecdotes.
Finally, the ugly. Being at a conference always generates conversations among attendees about what they do. This is the first time that I got negative feedback when I shared that I liked to do research and think that it’s an important part of being a professor. Not just “oh, I don’t”, but honestly negative feedback. For example, by doing research I am hurting my students’ educational development. This was a first to me. Now, I know that there are some faculty out there that do not concentrate on the teaching components of their job, but I don’t think that it negatively impacts learning. There are great researchers that are ok teachers. I would rather learn in an ok way from a great scholar than learn great from a hack. Just my preference I guess. I know that I also have research colleagues that look down on teaching professors. That’s equally problematic. Research and education are not mutually exclusive and we need to stop a) treating it that way and b) creating incentive structures at universities that encourage such a divide. Sadly, I’m in no position to solve this problem. I will continue to do research, however. I will continue to teach my students the best way that I think is possible while maintaining boundaries also. It’s what I like about this job. I get to do 2 (ok, 3 when you add in service) types of jobs at the same time. Now, if only we valued the difficulty of that job. We sure do respect professors, but we don’t always pay them that way. The same goes for any teacher really. Anyway, post done, next one coming relatively soon.