Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thinking about Thinking

The Thinker by Rodin
Those of you who read my blog regularly may have noticed by now that I often include statements like, "I've been thinking a lot lately about <insert topic here>..."

I didn't realize this at first--how often I use this phrase. But I occasionally go back and reread posts and I slowly came to realize that I must think a lot! (At least, my writing here seems to indicate it.)

And as I reflect on this, I really do. Think a lot, that is.

That is one of the best parts for me about working in higher education now: I have time to think about my teaching practice. It's not that I didn't think about my teaching practice when I was in K-12 schools; I definitely did. But it's almost as if it's designed into my schedule now. I have time to meet with students individually, to read and research and write, to confer with colleagues. I have time to think about teaching. It's not that I'm not busy--I feel like there is always another meeting!--but there is also an expectation (perhaps because I'm now an "academic?") that I should be thinking, thinking, thinking.

I meet with a group of colleagues every other week; we're all new faculty this year. This is a great chance to think about my thinking too. We read interesting things, and a pair of experienced faculty facilitate discussions about what good teaching looks like in higher ed, and what faithful teaching looks like for Christian scholars. I believe it is incredibly valuable to have that sort of thinking built into our first year at the institution as an expectation. I'll truly be sad when we are done meeting with this group in May. I hope we can continue to meet together, and think together, even after our official meetings are over.

Blogging has been good for my thinking as well. Early in my blogging adventure, I read a post by Larry Ferlazzo about building an audience for your blog. His first piece of advice: don't try to build an audience for your blog. "Write for yourself, not for others," he advised. I've generally tried to take that to heart. There are sometimes items I've written here that are intended "for others." But usually, the things I'm writing are for me to try and sort out my own thinking, or to record my own thinking. Think of it this way: by reading along, you all just get a glimpse inside the recycle bin that is my brain.

So if you notice me saying things like, "I've been thinking lately..." just know that it's probably true. And that I'd love to hear your feedback on my thinking, whether you agree or disagree.

The Thinker image by Karora (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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