New Instructor Introduces Himself
One of the new additions to the Selkirk College family is Stephen Harris. He started teaching in the Business Administration Program in September and brings a diverse background to the college.
With one of his skills being writing... he has saved the communications department some time and put together a piece of his own. Thanks Stephen and welcome aboard!
WHY AM I HERE?
by Stephen Harris
I’m not having an existential crisis. Quite the opposite. I’m a brand-new instructor at Selkirk, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m home. I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time, because what I have to offer feels like the right fit for the learners in my classroom.
That’s a lot of stuff about me: “I… I… I…” And that’s not really the point this piece.
This is the point:
Growing up (which is something I’m still doing, to be sure) there were teachers, instructors, and professors who had a profound impact on my life. At every stage - elementary, secondary, undergrad and grad school - there were one or two people who did more than just teach lessons.
Mr. King in grade 7 Geography; Ms. Williamson-Jeeves in high school Creative Writing; Dr. Sauer in first-year English Lit; Dr. Mohapel in grad school Leadership.
I’m positive that if you think back, you’ll recall that small handful of educators who changed your worldview too.
Why were they so memorable? What was so different about them, that up to 30 years later, their impact is still imprinted in my brain?
They connected with their students. They engaged, they told stories, they drew linkages and made analogies and brought subjects to life by asking about our experiences and sharing theirs.
As I try to keep my head above water in these first weeks of teaching at Selkirk - fighting with making Moodle do what I want; making quick decisions on whether to grant pre-req exemptions; building lesson plans for topics that aren’t in my strengths-set - I think back to those educators who shaped my life.
There’s more to education than rote memorization of what some textbook author thinks of a subject. The topics and lessons and subjects I get the privilege of teaching can be alive and relevant and meaningful. I want to be an instructor who brings the stories, the connections, the engagement and the questions to the classroom so that the students might get a small taste of those things that turned me into a lifelong learner.
Getting the opportunity to try something new, and attempting to be one of those memorable instructors: that’s why I’m here.