I am a pretty red extrovert, and I have taken special care in the last three years to be more mindful about my extroverted ways. I have learned to modulate my speech, and move my hands less, when engaging an introvert. It’s taken me years to work on this, but I think I have gotten better. I have a few fun facts to share. These are truisms for me, and might not hold water for you.
1. Thinking about communication is work.
2. You do not have to respond.
3. Pause, and then reposed. (If you are going to do so).
4. Use delay delivery with your email. It also gives you some time to go back and review
5. Enthusiasm can go a long way.
6. A meaningful thank you or sorry is worth its price in rubies.
That is all! Here are some screen caps from “Finding Dory.”
I am thinking about the last year and I have more than a few takeaways; however, I want to focus on five. This year was filled with many highlights and I do not want to do the brag or the humble brag.
What was important to me:
1. My family. My family keeps me grounded. I love the texts from different family members: leave work. Where are you? Are you picking me up? This array keeps me focused while I am work and then focused on my time with them. They are also great at reminding me that I need to unplug.
2. Good health for me and my family. No need to explain more here.
3. Learning. This includes my own learning and others around me. I love teaching and each time I walk into the classroom I think about how lucky I am to get paid to think, read, grade, and write for a living.
4. Leadership. Here I am referring to my own leadership on campus, but also the crucial people who I am learning from thanks to their leadership and mentorship.
5. Listening. Listening is such an important skill to have and when I was an undergrad advisor a major part of that job was listening (and helping) students in my office. Leading a service unit on campus means that I must listen lots to the team and those around me.
I look forward to what the next school term holds. I know that my family will remind me to unplug and that I will continue to learn from those around me.
I work with hundreds of students each term and do my best to help as many as I can. One way that I do this is to set up my course assignments in such a way that each one builds on the next and that the student can learn and improve. I also actively mentor and coach many students from the prospective student who I might take on a tour or chat with in my office through the graduate student teaching her or his first class.
As a mentor or coach, I appreciate those moments when I can celebrate a student’s success. And, those teachable moments, when focus is needed to figure out what is next. What is the next step after there is a set back. These moments provide lessons in coping, crying, and then the strategy. What are Plans B, C, and D? There are also times when you just have to keep quiet and listen. I find that in many instances, the person sitting across from me at the coffee table or in my office needs to articulate aloud what they’re thinking and you have to listen attentively and pause. For me, this occasionally means biting my tongue. I want to help, but the help is to just listen and encourage.
A good mentor/coach must listen. When a student gets closer to their last year, term or graduation a panic can set in for them. I remember this feeling before I graduated, as I wondered what graduate school would be like (that is another post). I’ve bumped into many current and soon to be former students and April was all about listening and encouraging them. They are on the precipice of major change and need to work through this. The best gift I can give is to listen. Today I’m thinking about the importance of listening.