Many of you attest to the fulfillment you gain from teaching in AGS classes, to the purpose it gives you, and to the joy you receive. We are thankful for you. The following are some thoughts to help you do what you love with excellence. The questions are for self-reflection; the Scripture passage, for inspiration.
- Walk out the mission. Share a devotion. Connect content with Scripture. Make it personal. Pray. Be available. What has worked for you in the classroom to integrate faith?
- Approach each course/each class fresh (i.e. stay sharp). Objectives stay the same, but is there a more effective way to achieve them than what is in syllabus? Is there something in current events to illustrate a concept? Can you incorporate a YouTube video? How do you stay sharp and fresh? Current? What is an example you can share of your integrating a current event into a session?
- Do your homework. Be prepared. When you know the content and requirements, you know the latitude you have within the class, meaning you know the rabbit trails you can take yet still achieve objectives. Always register with the publisher’s site to have access to any ancillaries that accompany your text. Preparation = Professionalism What do you do if a student hijacks the class to go to an inappropriate hot topic or a subject unrelated to content and objectives?
- Approach each class in an andragogical manner. Prioritize student engagement. An engaged student is open to learn and process, to contribute and connect. For evening instructors: How do you keep students engaged for 4 hours? For online instructors: How do you ensure that your students are engaged?
- Communicate proactively with us. If you have something come up and miss a few days online, let Dr. Easley know. If you are not meeting, let Karen or Trish know. We pay rent at certain facilities; we may be planning on delivering books or connecting with a student. Let us know of struggling students. How do you handle complaints about a book? A course? A program? Other instructors?
- Communicate proactively with your students. Send a welcome email to your students and when possible, visit them the week before your course starts. How do you communicate between/during sessions?
- Be present for your course. Evening: arrive early, be prepared, focus on course agenda for the evening, give breaks as outlined in syllabus, hold class for 4 hours. A student recently complained about an instructor being on the phone during much of the evening—that instructor was not present! Online: you cannot miss two consecutive days. Communicate with students if you know you will miss a day. What is the problem with leaving at 8:30 or 9:00 pm (evening) or going several days without contacting your class (online)?
- Connect teaching with grading. Provide direction, insight/expertise, and feedback. Use rubrics to prioritize your teaching and to set expectations; train students to use rubrics as a checklist. What other means have you found to support grade earned?
- Follow/support our policies & procedures; meet expectations.
- Hold class for required sessions (i.e. 4 hours/week for 5 weeks or 8 weeks).
- Require APA. Share samples, include in grading (no more than 20%).
- Post final grades within 7 days after the end of the class. Send an email to students when grades are posted.
- Record absence Week 1 for our records. Keep attendance records for your own sake. Grade participation with a rubric.
What message is relayed (to students and to us) if you choose not to follow policies or meet expectations?
- Support OKWU events. Faculty meetings, Commencement Ceremonies, School of Nursing Pinning and Commissioning Ceremonies. For the latter two, your students will look for you. If you live in the area, what keeps you from attending commencement? If you are distant, what keeps you from watching the ceremony? Perhaps afterwards you could send a congratulatory note to students you had taught.
In conclusion, consider Colossians 3:15-17 (AMP):
Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always]. Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom … Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.