The Trending Prof

Anita Woods Ph.D., University Educator

Doing More or Doing Less Better?

I have been pondering my energy focus in my job. As a professor I do have a lot of freedom within my job. I am still tasked with teaching certain courses and a number of lectures, but the rest of my time is cultivated by me.  As I reflect on how I’ve been using this time in between lectures, I have found I have moved from my first few years of approach of doing more things to doing the things I already do better. When I say better, I mean that I am spending time on the details of my job.

As an example, I am working on Education Research.  I used to look for projects to do that were outside of my regular classroom needs.  This wasn’t bad, but there were practices I was using in class that I didn’t actually know if they were effective.  Now instead of looking for other projects to work on, I am focusing more time on tasks that already have to be done, but making sure I am doing all of these jobs well.  This year, I am working on the way I mentor teaching assistants, spending time evaluating how I am evaluating content that I deliver, and analyzing how to better deliver the content that I am already tasked to give.  I now realize that I need to become a better teacher before I can do anything else outside of that and split my time too much.

So although I feel like I am not the mover and shaker that I want to be, I need to develop more street credit.  I am happy with the process of developing as a teacher and have to remember that it’s okay to not try and do more, but to do better at the jobs I already have to do.

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