Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Teacher, Teacher, Can You Teach Me?

Let me tell you about one part of the application package that philosophy people have to put together when they're going on the market. Actually, it's more like several pieces. Job posts in the JFP typically ask for "evidence of teaching excellence" or some shit like that. Of course, I have no idea if they ever get evidence of teaching excellence, but what they do get are teaching portfolios.

What a teaching portfolio consists of is not something that's very well defined, and I'm not going to define it very well right now. In the fall, when I was putting my applications together, I knew exactly two things about what my teaching portfolio needed. First, it needed a my "teaching philosophy." But what the fuck is that? Good question. You might even say the question, when it comes to teaching philosophies. Second, it needed something drawn from the student evaluations I get at the end of every course I teach. Okay, but what? The forms themselves? A summary of them? Student comments?

Trying to answer these questions turned out to be one of the most stressful parts of putting my application package together, since it involved senior faculty bullshit so absurd it would have freaked out Kafka. I'll tell you a story about it tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Teaching "Philosophy" means boilerplate platitudes.

I hope to empower my students to make use of their critical blahblahblahs by engaging/connecting yadayadayada to fill in the blank.

Kinda like the cover letter with its "I am motivated by your dept/institution's commitment to x-sell-ense in (whatever it is I can glean from your website identity statement)"