Making Adjustments . . . .
In my personal life, I’m gearing up to head to St. Louis for Game 6 of the World Series. (Those who know me, know that I am a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan.) In my work life, I’m preparing for my last “post-chat” of the semester.
I know you’re wondering what these two things could possibly have in common . . . and since I’m betting you won’t be able to guess, I’m just going to share the unusual way that my mind sometimes works. I hope it won’t seem like it’s coming out of left field . . . .
Success in baseball is often about putting in the work — and making adjustments as necessary to adapt to change. Success in teaching is often about putting in the work — and making adjustments to adapt to change!
Albert Pujols is a much beloved Cardinal, and, as do 99.9% of true Cardinals fans, I hope that he will end his career in St. Louis. Part of what makes him such a great player is his ability to adapt at the plate from each pitcher to the next, and from each at-bat to at-bat. He has this amazing ability to learn from each at bat, and to make small changes the next time he is up — changes that have made him, over the last 10 years, one of the most successful players of his time.
Not everyone has that ability. I know that I certainly don’t have that ability, either at the plate, or when it comes to teaching my own courses. Sometimes I need a batting coach to help me to see how this pitcher is different from the last one, and to help me figure out how I may need to make changes in my approach.
Much of what we do in our midterm chat process is to be that batting coach: We help instructors to see how their classes are going from their students’ perspectives — how the choices that they are making in the classroom fit their particular students — and help them to find adaptations that work for both them and their students. Our goal is always student — and faculty member — success.
Midterm chats are winding up now (no pun intended), but I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that we will still be here, and that we’re willing to be that batting coach for you, if you’d like to think about some little changes you might make in your approach.
As I’m putting out my chat report materials out for the instructor who will be here for his post-chat in a few minutes, and checking my bag to be sure I have everything I need so I can run out the door to head to St. Louis to Game 6 when we’re done, I’m comforted by the idea that it really isn’t too late to make adjustments . . . and am hoping that my Cardinals are feeling the same way.
I already have Game 7 tickets.
Postscript: For all you baseball-heads out there . . . Yes, I know that batting is an exercise in failure, and that succeeding only 30% of the time is considered pretty darn good. And yes, for all you instructors out there, I do understand that we can’t really measure teaching using the same metrics that we do for baseball! (It’s just an analogy.)
Post Postscript: Not only did the Cardinals make adjustments in Game 6 — which is said to have been one of the most exciting in post-season history, they went on to become the 2011 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals!!