A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a great discussion with some colleagues who, like me, are celebrating five years at their teaching centre this year. We were talking about what had helped us as we transitioned into our new roles. For me, an important factor was my institutional knowledge. Having completed my undergraduate degree at Waterloo, taught here, and worked in both an academic department and a support unit, there were lots of things I had learned over the years that you won’t find in orientation materials. I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I have discovered along the way. These are in no particular order!
- Need some inspiration? Check out the co-op students of the year. Each year, six students (one per Faculty) are selected based on their contributions to their employer, academic achievement, volunteer experience and other criteria. Their accomplishments, such as presenting their research at international conferences, raising capital for their start-ups, and developing new tools and processes, are impressive (and humbling)! I am a huge fan of co-operative education and look forward to reading about the award winners.
- Microsoft Excel is your friend. Most of my career has involved teaching or managing large (e.g., 300 – 1000+) classes. There is tremendous value in being able to efficiently store grade data and analyse it. Even in small classes, tools like PivotTables or some of the basic functions in Excel (or any spreadsheet for that matter), can help you get a clearer sense of your students’ performance. Taking a course at Waterloo through the Skills for the Electronic Workplace program, or getting some help from a colleague, are great options to hone your spreadsheet skills.
- You might need to find a different place to get your coffee once exams start. Not all Food Services locations are open during exams and those that are open might have reduced hours. The same is true for the student-run coffee shops. Check the hours of your favourite Food Services location on their Hours and Locations page.
- Read the Daily Bulletin. The Daily Bulletin is an electronic bulletin, published each business day. I try to read it every day because it is a neat mix of news, announcements, celebrations, events and miscellaneous information from across campus. Check out the Daily Bulletin Archive to see posts from the past 20 years!
As we head into spring, I thought it would be nice to have one final look at a snowy campus.