I keep a folder titled “Student Praise” in which I save emails from students praising their experience in my class. This might seem like an obvious thing to do for “demonstrating teaching excellence,” but I only just started doing it a couple years ago. I figured if no one has ever told me I should be doing this, that my fellow early career academics might benefit from hearing about it. At the very least this post might serve as a reminder to check in with your praise emails in the coming weeks for a little boost. It’s been a tough year, a tough semester, and we could all use a little praise bath 🛁.
One of the best aspects of higher ed instruction is how much autonomy you have. This is also the toughest aspect because it means you make a lot of decisions. Constantly. And then you doubt the wisdom of those decisions when something goes wrong. Then your negativity bias takes over and suddenly you fixate on the one disappointing incident you had instead of the otherwise amazing semester.
Having a cache of praise emails helps. It reminds me that I, by-and-large, make wise teaching decisions and that a good number of students thrive because of those decisions.
Do you save student praise? What do you do as a pick-me-up on a bad teaching day? Let me know in the comments.
This is also a good time of year (for those of us on a semester schedule) to think about saving student projects (with their permission) for use as examples in the future.
Stay tuned for more posts this year about teaching, research, and academia. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @litambitions and Instagram: @ecacademic (where I really nerd out about planning). You can also follow this blog (see the email subscribe button on the home page).