How Faculty Fellow Mike Riley Demonstrates Caring

The Teaching Spotlight series regularly highlights exemplary reflections written by our faculty fellows in the Reflective Teaching Fellowship. Each week, fellows develop self-reflections as members of an online community of practice, selecting Tags from across four Themes that are best aligned with the evidence they include in their weekly reflections. Exemplary reflections demonstrate use of evidence-based instructional practices (also known as Tags). Fellows featured in this series have chosen to make their reflections public. 

A Caring Exemplar

  • Fellow: Mike Riley

  • When: Spring 2019

  • Class: Principles of Management

  • Modality: Face to Face

  • Institution: Gateway Community and Technical College, Kentucky

Caring as an Evidence-Based Instructional Practice

The Caring Tag challenges Faculty Guild fellows to build personal connections with their students both inside and outside of the classroom. Sometimes, after several weeks into their fellowship, faculty will notice that they haven’t made use of the Caring Tag. “I’m surprised by this,” they’ll often say, “because I really care about my students.” 

A focus on evidence-based instruction asks us to provide evidence. How do our students know that we care? What strategies have we used to demonstrate our care to our students and to develop a personal connection with them? Did fellows include evidence of those actions in their self-reflection, sharing their good work with their peers and facilitator?

Mike made three, important teaching choices to demonstrate care to his students: 

  1. He arrived early to class, creating time for informal chats with his students.

  2. He played music as students entered the room.

  3. He provided his students with some light (and healthy!) snacks.

Of his caring teaching choices, Mike writes, “It gives me time to talk to students as they enter and hopefully shows caring as we discuss feeding the mind and the body.”

Most of us know that we care about our students; Mike was able to take that internal experience of care and bring it into his classroom, providing clear evidence of his desire to support his students’ success.

Consider: how do students know that I care about their success? What strategies do I use to demonstrate care in my classroom? Tweet your response and make sure to tag us @FacultyGuild and include the hashtag #teachingsuccessmovement.