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8 Jun 2011 / Julie

Enter Professor Strange

I usually tell a story leading up to my main point but i’m so excited i’ll just tell you now:

As of June 6th I am officially an adjunct professor for the University of Maryland ischool and i’m teaching “Information Access Services” in the fall.

(epic happy dance)

to be honest, if at any other point in my life you asked me if i wanted to teach i’d have said, “no” because that phrase “teaching” invoked an image of someone standing at the front of the class lecturing or imparting information to you. but when you reframe it as being the facilitator of learning, it’s a much less daunting proposition (at least for me).

guiding other people to find their way with a subject, helping light their fire (or help keep it lit), and having exchanges with people is what i love doing – and something i hope that i’m doing every day anyway.

and indeed, it was those rare teachers in my life that thought of teaching as a performance art (Mr. Howard, english) or let you follow your passion within the curricula (Madame Knobler, French; Professor Garcia, so many classes; Professor Radford, lib school) or encouraged you to learn in your own way and make up your own projects (Ms. Breslin, physics, Mrs. Deal, English) that really made the difference.

for me there is a direct correlation to the subjects i enjoy or am good at and the teachers that were more engaging.

I’ve trained people before, lead workshops, and even lead mini classes, but this is a new beast for me and if you’re a professor, I’d love to talk to you about things (leave comments or contact me!) but in the meantime, i’m very excited about being able to #hacklibschool from the inside.

As i tweeted today:
view of twitter status: "already an idea for teaching this fall: incorporate @hacklibschool and let the students design some of their own learning"

Someone said “if you’re doing it right, teaching is easy” meaning that if you’re facilitating ideas and discussion and being a guide to students rather than the all-knowing “sage on the stage” it’s a lot more fun, too!

And that’s exactly what i plan to do- we’ll see how that goes.

You learn the most when you’re encouraged to take control of their own learning – being able to follow the things that you love. Now, of course, i will have a syllabus with lesson plans but having that built in time to allow students to get out of the class what they wish to and letting them follow what lights their fire I think is the best way to have students be successful.

It’s like applying the 80/20 rule to school.

so, YAY I’M A PROFESSOR! i’m sure the nervousness will set in later, but for now, it’s pure glee.

if you’re in library school, talk to me about what you’d want to learn. If you’re a professor, talk to me about… everything! :-)

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