Photo of a professor pointing to writing on a whiteboard.

Many of us start the semester inspired by the idea that our courses can help students broaden their perspectives and use their new skills and understandings to reshape the world for the better.  As we dive into the middle weeks of the semester, it’s easy to lose some of that enthusiasm in a deluge of email and stacks of ungraded homework. Instead of relegating reflection on teaching to the busy period of preparation before the start of the semester, or to the day that the ACE Online results arrive, many instructors find it emotionally rewarding to take time throughout the semester to explore their teaching practices by:


  • briefly annotating lecture notes and class plans each week.  Recording effective approaches, identifying bottlenecks where students got stuck, and brainstorming new ideas for improving a class session, helps instructors to gain a better understanding of how to get everybody on the same page at the start of the next session;
  • regularly revisiting your Teaching Goals to help make good choices about course activities and content;
  • rereading and rewriting your teaching philosophy statement to reveal how your teaching has evolved over time and to highlight how your ideas and classroom experience have reshaped your teaching perspectives;
  • talking with colleagues often yields new techniques for more rewarding and efficient teaching. Center for Teaching workshops bring together instructors from across campus for interdisciplinary discussions about important teaching topics and effective teaching strategies; and
  • connecting with the Center for Teaching, which provides confidential services—including classroom observation and facilitation of student feedback—to help instructors reflect on their own teaching. 

In addition to improving classroom experiences for both yourself and your students, documenting your teaching practice can provide:

  • evidence of teaching effectiveness for tenure and promotion, and awards & grants;
  • data about teaching strategies to share with colleagues and mentees, and as well as at disciplinary conferences; and
  • information and examples to spark conversations at the departmental and collegial level about curriculum and course design. 

On Thursday, February 11, 11:30am – 1:30pm, The Center for Teaching will host a popular, interactive workshop on Creating a Professional Portfolio, which provides advice on the purpose, content, and construction of a teaching (professional) portfolio as well as strategies for writing a meaningful, effective teaching philosophy.  Register here to reserve your space at this workshop.