The Ac-ron-y-mous B.I.G.

This post is actually inspired by a comment I left on a classmate’s post (for the Contemporary Pedagogy course I’m taking this semester) that I really liked. (See Elizabeth Clark’s “What’s in a Name” if you’re interested.)

It’s a great example of using an acronym as a starting point for outlining one’s teacher “voice” or identity, and I thought it would also be a good starting point/crossover for my initial Global Perspectives Program blog post since we’re all still in the process of getting to know one another/defining ourselves within the contexts of higher education.

At first, her use of an acronym reminded me of an episode of the TV show 30 Rock, where Alec Baldwin’s character Jack Donaghy is trying to make a decision regarding the two women he has romantic feelings toward.

“All right, Donaghy,” he says to himself. “Follow your heart.”

Follow your HEART: Hard Equations And Rational Thinking

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It’s never not funny to me, and it’s a reference I tend to make any time I notice someone having a mind/heart decision-making struggle.

At any rate, her post then got me thinking about how I would make my own acronym to describe my teaching voice. It’s an interesting challenge, to be sure. In the spirit of sharing, here’s what I came up with for myself:

Real: I am my real self around my students… because I want them to feel comfortable being their real selves in my classroom. (See also: And in life!)
Aware: I am aware… that my students have different goals and needs with respect to writing instruction. (This means I do everything I can to help them meet their goals in the context of their own lives, not just my classroom.)
Charmingly Self-Deprecating: I am charmingly self-deprecating… which means I’m always one to poke fun at my self to remind my students that no one is perfect. And that’s okay by me. (This one came from a student during my first round of student evaluations way-back-when, and it’s something I’m oddly proud of, I guess.)
Humorous: I am humorous… because a well-timed quip or comment during class is one of my favorite ways to reach students. (This is inspired by all the teachers I have had over the years; each one found ways to teach us to learn and to laugh, and sometimes how to do both at once. It doesn’t have to be all seriousness and rigid structure for a learning environment to exist.)
Empowered: I am empowered… by those who taught me in the past, and by the students I teach now, to share knowledge and help others. (I got this one from her post; I think it’s an important one.)
Loyal: I am loyal to the idea that we can all be lifelong learners (e.g. our ongoing self-education through the lives we live), to the focus of my discipline (e.g. effective communication), and to my students (e.g. supporting their goals and identities while pushing them to learn as much as they can).

…By the time I got to the end of this, I felt like a pro at the whole acronym game, hence the cheesy title of “The Ac-ron-y-mous B.I.G.” But I can’t be the only one. What’s your acronym for your teaching identity?


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