An opportunity to give thanks (Teaching Tip)

Showing thanks through the lesson of grace in teaching
Recently, a colleague shared, “The lesson of grace in teaching: From weakness to wholeness, the struggle and the hope” blog post with me. This inspiring talk was written by Francis Edward Su (Professor, Harvey Mudd College) upon receipt of the Mathematical Association of America’s Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award.

Professor Su writes, “… good instructional techniques are necessary for good teaching. But they are not sufficient. They are not the foundation.” He elaborates that instead, grace-filled relationships are the foundation for good teaching in that “grace gives you freedom to explore, freedom to fail, freedom to let students take control of their own learning, freedom to affirm the struggling student by your own weakness.”

Professor Su provides a number of excellent ways to ensure grace is the foundation of teaching by learning students’ names, providing opportunities for students to make connections with the material, and sharing with students something of ourselves, whether it is the struggles that we have faced in our academic careers or taking an interest in their lives.

Professor Su closes his talk with, “… And not only will grace inspire our students, it will inspire us. Just like my students, the moments I remember best from my own teaching are the grace-filled moments I have shared with my students and colleagues and former teachers, many of whom are here today. I want to thank them, because I didn’t deserve those blessed moments. But they gave them to me anyway.”

Who makes you feel like a valued member of the ISU community?

This fall, CELT partnered with ISU Learning Communities, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and Student Government to initiate #CyThx. Before November 30, students are encouraged to answer, Who makes you feel like a valued member of the ISU community? via our #CyThx at ISU online submission web form.

While the program was designed for undergraduate and graduate students to recognize faculty members, graduate teaching assistants, peer mentors, and advisors, feel free to take the time to recognize and acknowledge the work of one of your mentors or colleagues at Iowa State University. Prior to December 21, 2018, your valued member of the ISU community will receive a #CyThx email along with your optional message and recognition on our #CyThx website. In addition, campus leadership will receive notification of who received a #CyThx.

With thanks to your teaching efforts,

Sara Marcketti, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching


Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: An opportunity to give thanks (November 15, 2018 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for November 15 2018 (PDF).