- Why be an Educational Developer?
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I wear many hats, but my favourite one is glittery
While I was in graduate school, I was fortunate enough to have had a mentor who taught me how to teach. Every professor I had before and after her trained me to think like a researcher. Of course, the two are not incompatible. In fact, around that time Saroyan and Amundsen argued that “[t]he intellectual exercise of understanding the rationale for a teaching method and how it relates to learning as well as testing out the teaching method is akin to what professors do as scholars”(2004: 19). Although I felt like I was neither, I too was on the path of becoming a professor, and it is in that context that my sociolinguistic prof, with his questionably fashionable moustache, advised me to quit thinking of myself as a student. “Now is the time to put on your professor’s hat,” I clearly recall him telling me. Soon after I was on the tenure track.
From the very beginning I was given the responsibility of training TAs who taught several entry level courses in my department. Emulating what my teaching mentor had done for me, I took this task to heart and discovered that training instructors is what I enjoyed doing the most. This was the unofficial beginning of my educational development career… and what triggered my deep desire to transform teaching so that it would no longer be considered “incidental to the mission of higher education” Hénard, F., & Roseveare, D. (2012: 13).
Eight years later, I accepted my first position as an ED and remembered both of these professors with fondness, my mentor for helping me develop my potential as an educator, and the mustached professor for encouraging me to make the hat mine. It looks stylish and confident and if you look closely you’ll see it’s all glittery.
Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier, PhD
*This project was supported by a 2014 Educational Developers Caucus (EDC) Grant of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE).