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 the freedom to explore, freedom to fail, freedom to let students take control of their learning, freedom to affirm the struggling student by your 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, but it will also inspire us. Just like my students, the moments I remember best from my 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?

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) is partnering with ISU Learning Communities, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Student Government, and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate to celebrate and promote effective teaching, advising and mentoring with the annual recognition initiative #CyThx at Iowa State University.

We hope that all Cyclones take time to acknowledge their Iowa State University faculty, graduate teaching assistants, peer mentors, advisers, faculty/staff mentors, colleagues, and more.
Before November 30, Cyclones 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.

The #CyThx honorees will be recognized with an email and an acknowledgment on the #CyThx webpage between fall semester grade submission on December 26, and January 10. Additionally, campus leadership will receive notification of who received a #CyThx.

With a joy for teaching,

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 14, 2019 – 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 14, 2019 (PDF)