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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Understanding Our Strengths and Weaknesses as Teachers | Teaching Professor Blog

"Every teacher has strengths and weaknesses. Have you ever tried to list yours?" says
Photo: The Teaching Professor Blog

Doing so is a worthwhile activity. I’d recommend doing it in private with a favorite libation—only one, because there is a need to be thoughtful and honest.

I’m still thinking about mid-career issues, and I’m wondering whether by the time we reach the middle of our careers, we can’t confront our weaknesses with a bit more maturity. 

I’ve come to believe that some weaknesses simply must be accepted. That doesn’t mean we no longer care about them. It doesn’t mean we stop trying to improve them, but it does mean they’re never going to be our strengths. That’s where I am in thinking about my organizational skills. I do fine on paper. I can outline. I understand hierarchy, flow, and the need for transitions, but when I present, it’s not always well organized. I get going, and one thing leads to the next: a new idea pops up in my mind, somebody asks a good question that pushes me in an interesting but different direction, and soon I have no idea what I’m supposed to be talking about. It’s the kind of free-flowing style that drives linear, systematic thinkers nuts. I know that, and I try to use strategies that create some order out of the chaos, but presentational organization will never be a teaching strength for me, and that’s OK. Teachers need to accept what they can and can’t do well.
The Teaching Professor Blog

For most weaknesses, it’s usually better to accept your limitations and find a work-around rather than try to fight it. You’ve faced the problem, now you can live with it. So if you tend to get sidetracked when presenting, you can hand out an outline announcing that if you start talking about something that isn’t on the outline, everyone should feel free to point that out, and together, you’ll either adjust the outline or list that new item on the back as an interesting new idea to return to later.

Source: The Teaching Professor Blog