We know from multiple experiences that the more we talk about pedagogy and what really goes on in our classes, the more we understand the options and opportunities we have in teaching this important class. Peer to Peer Observations are a way to create more opportunities to discuss and improve teaching. Given the variety of teaching schedules and positions, we have paired you more or less randomly (full-time faculty member, a post-doc, a graduate student, a new TA, or a part-time instructor) with another teacher whose schedule aligns with yours. The randomness is by design: We want you to experience multiple classrooms and multiple styles.
We have found that one way to continue to grow as a teacher is simply to talk about teaching with your colleagues. These conversations can be fruitful in getting new ideas, seeing innovative techniques, and discover intersecting interests in pedagogy and scholarship. Not only do we want these peer discussions to foster a vibrant teaching community, but we also hope that you will see ways to collaborate on teaching initiatives, conference papers, and sessions for ENGL110 retreats.
These observations are not meant to evaluate each other’s teaching; they are simply meant to get instructors talking to each other. We suspect that if you have participated in peer observations in the past, you will agree that more than anything the process is a way to promote new ideas and to share the good work we are all doing in ENGL110.
Early in the semester, we’d like you to contact the colleague you are assigned to observe. Your colleague can then offer several dates when you might visit his or her class. Once you’ve arranged a date, you simply need to visit the class and meet afterward to discuss the class and share strategies. We’ve made every effort to be certain that the schedules are compatible. Let us know immediately if there is a conflict.
We can no longer provide coffee cards per budgeting rules, and because we have received feedback that the novelty of this program has worn off, causing many not participate, we would like for each of you to write up a brief paragraph or two about the observation that you did. You can include it in your annual review as a point of discussion about teaching. This paragraph would be included in both the observed and the observer’s files. This is not meant to be critical or punitive; paragraphs are meant to invite reflection and showcase the great teaching that we do.