Learning to Teach Day
I have been to three or four so far. And all I can say is that they are remarkable and indispensable. McGill Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) organizes these day-long workshops on learning how to teach for graduate students about once every semester. They are, in one word: amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I think “Learning To Teach” should be a graduate course. I think anyone who is teaching would benefit from it.
First of all, it’s always on a Saturday during the day. Which is the perfect time. The busiest people don’t have much to do on Saturdays during the day other than sleep in.
Secondly, the talks and workshops are out of this world fantastic. What I mean is that the people who are giving these workshops and sessions are — like — trained professionals who deliver the exact information and knowledge that anyone who is beginning their career as a course instructor needs. It’s a toolkit of different techniques and ideas to improve your teaching.
Thirdly, there is a lot of diversity in the subject matter being discussed. For instance, one workshop that I really enjoyed was given by Dr. Joan Butterworth and it was on improv. It gave me a whole new perspective on teaching. Another talk — about “What I wish I’d known when I first started teaching” focussed on how “warmth” is one of the most important things to students when they are evaluating their instructors. This was news to me.
Fourthly, no matter what workshop you choose, you can’t go wrong. Because they’re all that good, and that useful. For instance, before today, I had very little knowledge about teaching portfolios. Until the enlightening workshop given by Dr. Laura Winer and Heather Braiden.
Finally, there is free food, cookies, and coffee.