Over a year ago I was, as is often the case, running between meetings on campus. I can’t remember exactly where I was going or what the meeting was about, but I do remember checking my email on my way from wherever I was to wherever I was going. It was then that I learned from a colleague that my name was being put forward for consideration of an Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) teaching award.
To be honest, the news brightened an otherwise not so bright day. For whatever reasons that I can’t recall at this point (because clearly they weren’t important), I remember feeling rather frustrated and overwhelmed by everything and nothing at all. I was probably too tired, insufficiently caffeinated, and hungry.
And then I read the email and I realized how much I was letting the little things and the things out of my control govern my mood.
Flash forward to today, and I’m <insert all sorts of feels> to share that I was officially selected as one of four recipients of the 2018-2019 OCUFA Teaching Award. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure how I feel because I’m feeling overwhelmed and honoured and lucky and privileged, and I’m also trying to process this because I honestly never thought that this was a thing that was going to happen.
What I can say for sure is that I owe a lot of people an incredible amount of thanks.
First and foremost, thank you to the students, staff, faculty, and community partners who wrote letters of nomination and support. Your words mean so much that I don’t think I can ever say thank you enough. You may or may not be hugged when next I see you.
Thank you also to Drs Gerarda Darlington, Herb Kunze, Jack Weiner, Hosh Pesotan, Joe Cunsolo, Pal Fischer, and many other professors (past and present) who demonstrated (and continue to demonstrate) to me what teaching excellence looks like. I was so incredibly lucky as an undergraduate and graduate student to sit in the classrooms of professors who cared so deeply about my learning, that I measure myself against their example to this day. If I can become even half of who they are as teachers, I will consider myself successful.
Thank you also to the community partners who have shared their expertise with the students in my classroom. Thank you for placing your trust in my students as they set out to master learning outcomes while trying to address the often complex and interdisciplinary social challenges that you bring to them. My classrooms would not be the same without your efforts, expertise, and patience, and I will forever be indebted to you for making the time to inspire students to be more than their discipline.
Last but definitely not least, thank you to the students who continue to inspire and challenge me. I’m not going to pretend that every class is perfect or necessarily how I expected it to turn out, but more often than not I am amazed at your willingness to use your skills to solve the challenges that our community partner brings to class. More than that, you solve the challenges in ways that I don’t think I ever could have imagined. It is an honour to be able to witness this in person.
Honestly, I’m really not sure how to express what this award means, how honoured I am to be receiving it, or even how thankful I am to those who made this possible. So with that, I’m going to simply say thank you and make my way home to celebrate with a wee dram of scotch.
For those who might be interested, the official announcement from OCUFA is here.