This week:

  • I share one expert’s ideas for building yourself a teaching community.
  • I pass along advice for getting through a stressful semester.
  • I remind you about a coming virtual event.

Teaching well is intellectually demanding. It can be emotionally draining. And that’s all true outside of pandemic conditions. But professors are rarely the first or only ones to encounter a particular challenge — and they don’t have to go it alone.

Regan A.R. Gurung emphasized that point as a speaker during a Chronicle virtual event I moderated recently. I followed up with Gurung, associate vice provost and executive director of the center for teaching and learning at Oregon State University, after the panel and asked him to expand on his comments for this newsletter.

If you want to connect with other instructors who can help you think through challenges large or small, here’s what he recommends:

  • Look for a teaching or education journal in your discipline. Some disciplines have dedicated journals with scholarship on teaching. Reading those, Gurung said, is a way to keep up with the field — and also figure out who’s producing this research. If your discipline doesn’t have a stand-alone journal on teaching, one of its journals might have a section of articles on teaching, which could play a similar role.
  • Turn to your disciplinary society. Many disciplinary associations have an arm or subcommittee related to teaching. Its members, Gurung said, could be a great resource.
  • Propose a conference session. If your discipline doesn’t have a journal or association subcommittee on teaching, Gurung said, consider starting one. One approach he’s seen succeed: Propose a session on teaching at a national conference. “The moment you have that,” he said, “that is the beacon for people to flock around if they care about teaching.”
  • Use Twitter. Twitter can be overwhelming. But a curated teaching feed can be a great way to listen to — and join — conversations on teaching, Gurung said. “There’s rarely a day,” he said, “when I don’t scroll Twitter for five minutes and find something that makes me think, or that I want to read about.” He encourages his graduate students to use the platform, if they don’t already, and to look at his own follower list. Professors new to Twitter might start, he suggested, by following the authors of teaching articles they’ve learned from. From there, they will be able to see whom those scholars interact with, and follow anyone who fits the bill for their own needs.

Have you used those resources — or others — to build yourself a teaching community? Share your experience with me, at beckie.supiano@chronicle.com, and they may appear in a future newsletter.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Build in breaks. Be candid — within reason — with students about your life circumstances. Those are among the strategies for reducing the risk of burnout that the online-teaching expert Flower Darby offered in this advice piece back in January. Given the continued uncertainty of the fall, it’s worth revisiting now.

Talk to Us — on Monday!

A reminder that three Chronicle reporters — including me — are putting on a virtual event about how we do our work, on Monday, September 13. If you’ve ever wondered how we choose the stories we cover, how to get our attention, or what agreeing to an interview entails, this is a great chance to get some answers. More information is here.

Thanks for reading Teaching. If you have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to email us, at beckie.supiano@chronicle.com or beth.mcmurtrie@chronicle.com.

—Beckie

Learn more about our Teaching newsletter, including how to contact us, at the Teaching newsletter archive page.