I have had ample time to think about my teaching and service philosophy thanks to compiling the monster of the third-year reappointment file. And, one of the things that I have ruminated about is trying to ascertain how students think. Here, I refer to how they think about the materials, college, and instructors. I cannot get inside the minds of my current students—without attempting to query them and hope for their honesty.
Their written and numerical evaluations are not completely fair either—since they are imbued with a sense of satisfaction (or not) with the class, grades earned, and me. I will have to think about students or the classes with my old memories, then.
What was significant for me as a student (undergraduate) in the classroom or office hours?! Now, I have to really stretch here, since each year I get more removed from my tenure as an undergraduate! The sort of lessons that I learned vary from knowing that showing up was important. Yes, coming to class and going to office hours. Now, office hours seemed really special and even a little intimidating. But, this is when I learned how invaluable they were.
I also learned that I performed better in courses that I really enjoyed. I did not have to have friends in the course, but the materials or the focus of the class struck me in some way. And, then there were the various professors. I remember the good ones fondly. Sure, there were a few that were not skilled at teaching or working with students, but the course materials might have made up for it.
My big lesson learned as an undergraduate was that I needed to own my education. I had to show up, I had to act like I had an investment at stake—and I did. I was lucky to have good mentors and that influenced my overall experience as an undergraduate student. And, I felt lucky to actually get the opportunity to attend college. I distinctly remember sitting in a mid-term or final and wondering where all these people came from and why they were not in class previously. These are my memories as an undergraduate student. I am sure that I have more!