In Their Own Words
When I began ACUE, I thought of myself as somebody whose sole job was to deliver knowledge. My only goal was to just give psychology to my students. By the end of ACUE, I thought that my job was to facilitate their learning, so my job was to get each and every student in the classroom to have their own way of understanding material, and that required a lot of different types of teaching and different things in the classroom that didn’t always just rely on me giving psychology, but them working with the knowledge themselves.
The ACUE course was transformative. I completely view this semester, each individual course section different with my students. I go into every single class thinking about: What do I want my students to know? What is my goal? Why am I doing every single thing that I’m doing? So much of my teaching was just doing things because that’s the way that I always did them. There wasn’t a whole lot of thought behind why I would give this exam or why I would give this type of lecture. And now every single time when I get into the classroom, I feel that every minute is precious and I need to be very thoughtful about the purpose of why I’m doing the different things I’m doing.
I’ve really noticed that the messages that we give to students without even saying a word have a profound impact on their education. So a lot of times I would wait for my students. If class was supposed to begin and people weren’t there, I’d give them a few minutes and kind of, you know, casually talk to students, do some housekeeping, but I would want to wait for everyone to arrive. One of the things that I took away from ACUE is you giving the message, you setting the tone and setting this expectation that your class time is important. The first five, ten minutes of class are really important. So no matter who is there, when the clock strikes I’m going to begin teaching and I’m telling my students that I care about them, I care about their time, and they’re rising to the occasion. I see my students are there even when I’m not taking attendance. They’re there at the beginning of class, they’re paying attention, they’re awake, they’re engaged, they’re having completed the readings because they know that they are going to be expected to do activities and to speak in class, that they’re not just going to be able to sit there passively and listen to me lecture to them. So I find that they’re a lot more prepared for class. They’re staying to the very end because a lot of times we’ll have an activity right at the end of class. So really, throughout the entire class session, I find that they are giving me these messages that they are there and they are learning and they’re prepared to learn. And I need to do my job and make sure that I am making use of all that time.
I can’t say enough about how much I learned from the ACUE course, how much I feel better about what I do in the classroom and about my identity as a professor.
ACUE Interview, Spring 2018