The Graduate Student Teaching Enhancement Program (GSTEP; http://miamioh.edu/cte/graduate-students/teaching-enhancement-program/index.html) is designed for graduate students who are interested in developing their teaching skills while enhancing relationships with other graduate students and faculty. The GSTEP Facilitator is Jennifer Blue (Center for Teaching Excellence; Physics).
In this CTE Blog, Michelle Veite, GSTEP member, shares a reflection on the first class meeting that she wrote in partial fulfillment of the program requirements.
GSTEP Class 1 Reflection: Preparing for an Academic Job
Let me start off by saying that I have taken this class before, in the fall of 2012. I was on a Graduate Assistantship (GA) and not formally teaching at the time, but tutoring undergraduates one-on-one. I initially took GSTEP to introduce me to the collegial world of teaching due not teaching as a GA. The class offered exactly what I was anticipating and then some. That next fall, I began teaching and have taught ever since. I decided to take the GSTEP class again because I really enjoyed it and wanted to refresh myself on the preparation I had acquired the first time and enhance my understanding of what I know now that I have taught.
While I remembered certain differences between teaching expectations among doctoral/research and undergraduate teaching institutions, I did not remember the teaching preparations I could be doing now to prepare myself for a future teaching position. I was surprised to see how many of these items I could already check off. Some of these included (a) seeking more independent teaching experiences, (b) going to seminars relating to teaching, (c) learning from and having open discussions with outstanding professors, (d) going to conferences, (e) applying for research support, and (f) seeking other opportunities to get involved in Miami University governance or the graduate student community.
I honestly believe I was directed to complete all of this preparation due to taking GSTEP in 2012. Without GSTEP, I would not have initiated discussions with professors about their teaching experiences and how they have become the outstanding teachers they are today. I also know that I would not have run for leadership roles within the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at Miami to increase my awareness about governance at the university level. I have learned a vast amount of information about how decisions are made and how a university is run through my participation in GSA and GSTEP. I am also on the University Senate to expand this knowledge and increase my commitment to the Miami community. Additionally, I have applied to four different areas to gain support for my research. I was able to gain experience about the process and obtain three out of the four areas of support.
The information learned in GSTEP is invaluable. Every aspiring teacher within the graduate student community should be required to take this class for the conversation and discussion it generates. Without the knowledge and direction obtained from this class, I would not have chosen the path I have today, especially regarding my involvement within the graduate community.
For more information about the GSTEP program, visit the CTE website (http://miamioh.edu/cte/graduate-students/teaching-enhancement-program/index.html).