What are your teaching, research, and service goals? Last week, a colleague asked me that question, and I didn't have a response. Despite my martial arts training that supports keeping my mind and body prepared at all times, that question caught me with my guard down and primed for a knockout!
Perhaps, like you, it takes a moment to consider career objectives. I am in the mindset of finishing this semester’s final class meetings, reviewing assignments, and issuing evaluations.
If pressed further last week, I could have provided an immediate response. Instead, I asked for time to think about my goals for the following year.
In general, I want to improve as a teacher, researcher, and advisor. The specific words to describe how I plan to develop my skills in these areas escaped my mind when put on the spot. Thinking about and articulating professional goals for the semester beginning in three months during the current term is difficult.
While on most days, I can see the clear vision for my life and how my overarching professional and personal goals overlap. There are also moments when the forecast is cloudy, and I experience challenges with seeing the road in front of me. I was not ready to have the conversation about goals last week.
Changes are on the horizon. As I pen these words, I can imagine the sunrise over the green hills in the view from my campus office's window. My work environment will change soon.
Do you have any concerns about teaching next semester? Maybe, I am the only one.
A portion of the students will return to the island and resume classes in August. The administrative leadership team is outlining social distance protocols and preparing us for being in the physical classroom.
Next semester will revert to the traditional in-person classroom model, where my teaching experiences stem. It's a bitter-sweet feeling because I have adjusted to the virtual branches of online education.
The transition to teaching online was rough, but now I am confident in leading an effective and engaging online lecture or discussion. I led two dynamic sessions this week.
There is convenience in online teaching and learning that resonates with teachers and students. You can take or teach a class from anywhere with a strong internet signal. Digital dialogues empower the timid learner and educator to make bold statements. Zoom and Microsoft Teams' chat features are great tools for virtual classroom discussions.
I appreciate the flexibility in teaching and advising students from home. On most days, I come to the campus and take advantage of the stable WIFI connection, but the option to work from home is solid!
I get to see more of my family between classes, advising appointments, and meetings, when I opt to stay home. Back in February, I captured one of the breaks from remote working in a video.
Yes, it's challenging to work from home also. You know there are multiple distractions in a house with three small children, a dog, and now a stray cat. I told you about the dog. I will save the cat story for next week.
Regardless of the people and animals vying for my attention at home, I am grateful for the opportunity to integrate my work and household responsibilities. It’s tough to juggle everything, but I work well with my hands and eyes.
Indeed, you can also list the benefits of working from home during the pandemic. Perhaps, you saved money on fast food lunches, gas, or clothes. If you’re having a hard time thinking of one perk that online work provides, let’s admit that it's good to have a break from rushing in the morning to teach an 8 am class on campus.
I am an early riser, and I still appreciate slow starts to the day's activities.
Every day I wake up at 4:00 am. My goal is to get the dog out by 4:35 am, do a little training with him, and then get into my exercise routine. The children are up between 5:30 am, and 6:00 am to begin their morning chores and get ready for school.
Teaching three small children to take care of animals and their selves before 7:30 am is not easy. My wife and I have our hands full with getting them to eat, feed the dog, cat, and clean any messes from the previous night.
Did I also tell you that my children need frequent reminders to turn off the computer, put on their school uniforms, and stay focused on the present task? No? Well, now you know!
Yes, that’s a glimpse into my chaotic mornings.
I am grateful for my many roles and also experience plenty of exhaustion Monday through Friday! If you're a parent and pet owner, patience and coffee are golden when you wake up to multiple children and animals. My days often feel non-stop, from 4 am until 9 pm when I go to bed.
Let's shift gears back to teaching online. Listen, it's ok not to be perfect. I have to tell myself this, and now I am conveying this message to you.
When teaching online, technology issues will happen. I had one this week that prevented some students from accessing the chat window that I use to encourage every student's participation. As one of my mentors told me, “It’s impossible to control what happens to you. You always have the option to control your response.” I am sure he got that from someone else, but the message is clear.
It's important to stay calm when things don't go as planned.
We must aim to do our best and remain captains of the ships that dictate our ultimate destinations.
With that perspective of self-leadership, what are your teaching, research, and service goals? Before reading my response to this question that started this post, take a few minutes to write down your ideas. Seriously, take a moment and brainstorm about your plans for the next academic school year.
These extra spaces below are intentional to give you an opportunity for reflection.
I hope you followed my instructions and are reading this sentence after making time to think! If you did not, please stop and return later to read about my professional goals and how I can further help you with accountability to achieve yours.
My teaching goals include taking on an additional class in the Fall 2021-2022 academic year. I will expand my instructional design portfolio with more creative examples of my work.
I have two research articles that I need to revise and resubmit for publication. Over the summer, I will also begin to compile data for a research project investigating the relationships between life transitions and academic achievement. My first novel that incorporates my research and creative writing skills is also in production!
Concerning service, I am looking to expand mentorship programs to impact academic achievement and support self-care practices among Black males and others from underserved communities.
Will I be successful in achieving my goals? How can I continue to help you accomplish your professional and personal goals? You will have to subscribe to this blog or explore my coaching services to discover the answers to these questions!
Subscribe to the blog now by clicking this hyperlink: www.vlindsayphd.com/subscribe If you would like customized assistance to support your professional and personal goals, complete the intake form for my accountability coaching services at: www.vlindsayphd.com/coaching