Forming a Supportive Network

When discussing how to survive emotionally as an instructor, Brookfield (2006, pg. 259-261) stresses the importance of instructors having a group of colleagues they can turn to for support and comfort. Many instructors, including myself, spend most of their time in the classroom with their students and in their offices in isolation. There are few opportunities to have conversations with colleagues and the times were these conversations do occur are typically during meetings or social events. Meetings and social events are typically not the best environment for instructors to discuss their personal problems in regards to their teaching.

For myself, I don’t mind spending the workday alone. I enjoy my own company. However, I do believe that instructors need some sense of support from their colleagues or their institution if they are suffering from emotional stress due to their work. Peer support is difficult because many groups of instructors teach at different times and campuses. Upon researching the counselling services at my university and a few others I found that they were catered towards students and the only instructor support apparent is information for how instructors can help students. I also searched on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and could not find any online support groups for instructors.

It would be beneficial to instructors (and hence their students) if I brought up this issue with my department and even possibly the Dean’s office to hear their thoughts about this issue and what could be done to address it. It may also be helpful to have a collection of resources available for instructors to provide them with information about how to deal with emotional stress in a university setting.

References

Brookfield, S. D. (2006). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom (Second ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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About simoncrothers

I am an Australian who moved to British Columbia, Canada with my family in 1998. After completing my undergraduate degree in mathematics and computing science at Simon Fraser University, I moved back to Australia for several years. During this time I completed a Masters in Computational Mathematics and began my teaching career in mathematics at the University of New South Wales. In 2010, I moved back to Canada and taught computer science at Douglas College for three years. I am currently regular faculty in the Computer Business Systems department at KPU. I have also taught some courses in the Business and Quantitative Methods department at KPU. In my spare time I like to spend time with my wife Jami, who I met in Australia, our three year old daughter Lillian, and our newly born son Aiden. I also like to indulge in the occasional video game and I am involved in various self-employed web development projects.
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