All posts by bacabits

Recovering Assessment Hater

 

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“Boring, lame, inconvenient, and unnecessary.” If you would have asked me several years ago my thoughts on assessment, this would have been my response when I was adjunct faculty. I abhorred assessment because I didn’t get it, but I didn’t get it because I was not educated in it. I had a resistance to it, and my resistance was rooted in my insecurities and my ignorance in the area.

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When it was that time of year for the assessment reports, I thought to myself WHY!!???, and I submitted my assessment reports, gritting my teeth, just wanting to get them over with, and out of my face.

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     It’s really hard for me to admit that I knew nothing about assessment when I started teaching as an adjunct. When I say I knew nothing, I knew NOTHING. I didn’t even know that the exams I had in my course were actually a form of assessment, that was how bad it was. When I started teaching part time, my knowledge of assessment was not a requirement. I met the qualifications on paper, I was handed a book and a syllabus, and off I went.

When I was hired as residential faculty I knew a little more. I had previous experience as a curriculum developer and I knew that I wanted to do better and I wanted to change my negative attitude. I had to be honest with myself by raising my hand and saying “My name is Tenisha Baca and there’s a lot about assessment that I still don’t know, but feel like I should know.” I knew that the only way to remedy my negative attitude towards it was to commit to taking the time to properly learn what it is, how it works, and why it’s important. So, I signed up for the assessment seminar at the Center for Teaching Learning and Engagement (CTLE), and my mind opened up to a whole new world of amazing in the following ways:

  1. Assessment is really not that big, bad, or scary. It’s simple and informative.
  2. I can do this, I can do a better job, and the CTLE can help me.
  3. If I’m all about student success, I need to do it and take it more seriously for the benefit of the student’s learning experience.

I applied it and I’m happy that I did. I have seen an improvement in my student’s exam scores, I revised the curricular areas where my students were struggling, and I have criteria that is clearer and grading that is more consistent. The commitment to assessment had a significant impact in my courses.

If you were like me several years ago, I encourage you to give assessment a chance and really look at the potential and the possibilities behind it. I see the value in assessment because of the improvements I have seen, not only in my students, but myself. Assessment is needed and our decision to take it on and do it right, or do it half way, or not at all, can make a huge difference in student success in the classroom.

See me. See You. See Possibility.

My cultural reflection/inspirational story is connected to Dr. Velvie Green, the former President of Glendale Community College. I met her when I was a student at GCC. I was hanging around the Communication Department and Jim Reed, the Department Chair, was giving our newly appointed President a tour of the department. Jim came around the corner and said that he wanted to introduce me to her. When she came around the corner I saw an African American woman standing in front of me. I had a moment of pause. I looked at this stranger and felt like I was looking at my future physical self. I couldn’t tell you what I was expecting, but I could definitely tell you that I was not expecting her.

I recognized something in her that connected with me on a level I had never recognized before. I recognized possibility in something that I would have never considered without this encounter, the possibility that I could become a college president myself. I saw a cultural reflection of myself on campus and it inspired me. For years I pursued becoming a college president. My pursuit brought me to teaching and I fell in love with it and changed course.

That day motivates and inspires me daily. It really showcases the importance of cultural reflection on college campuses. That day is one of the things that motivates me to bring excellence into everything that I do, because someone out there may see themselves in me through my work. They may see me and they may be encouraged to be excellent in their career. They may see me and see the possibility of a career path that they would have never considered for themselves. They look at me and think to themselves if she can do it, I can do it too.

I encourage others to think of themselves in the same way. All it takes is someone seeing themselves represented, right in front of them to inspire and motivate them to greatness.  Each encounter that you have on this campus could make or break someone’s hopes, dreams, or desires. Be mindful of the fact that you matter to someone and that they are paying attention to what you say and do.

I don’t know Dr. Velvie Green personally. She doesn’t know the impact she has had on me. I hope that she will come across this one day, so she can read about the difference she has made in my life. I am thankful and grateful that I had the opportunity to meet her. It changed my life.

Contagious Spaces

 

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My name is Tenisha Baca and I am Residential Faculty for the Communication and World Languages Department at Glendale Community College in AZ. I am also the Co-Faculty Developer for the Center for Teaching Learning and Engagement. Welcome to this post!

We’re always encouraging others in higher education, but there are moments when we need it ourselves. When we’re motivated and inspired it impacts everyone we serve. It’s contagious and I’m here to spread it.

One way to stay motivated and inspired is to surround yourself with items that cultivate that feeling within you. The best place to start is the office. We spend a significant amount of time in the office. We should surround ourselves with items that encourage us to be awesome in what we do.

My office is a haven of motivation and inspiration. I’ve included pics below. Here’s a list of some of my top motivating/inspirational items in my space.

1. Purple Heart Award: Award I received after completing chemotherapy. I’ve been a cancer survivor since 2008. It reminds me of what I overcame and it encourages me to encourage others that they can overcome what they are going through.

Purple Heart Award.jpg2. Picture of my husband and I: He strives for excellence in everything he does. It reminds me to strive for the same thing inside and outside of the classroom.

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3. Notes of appreciation on my wall: Over the year’s people have been nice enough to write me such encouraging notes. I keep all of them and it touches me to know I have touched others in my work.

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 4. Wonder Woman: All of my figures inspire me because I love WONDER WOMAN!!! Everything she stands for is something I strive for daily.

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5. Door of Inspiration: Place where I post people, sayings, notes, etc. that encourage me to be the best version of myself every day.

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Cultivating this space and mindset makes a difference. I pass these messages along to my students when they stop by my office and we have conversations about life. I also pass them along in the classroom. One day I asked a student: “Hey, have you found all of this motivational/inspirational stuff we have discussed to be something helpful to you?” He said yes “It makes me realize that I can do anything. And that I can work hard to get there if I put in the work.” That is a great lesson a student learned, not just for the classroom, but in life. Like I said before, motivation and inspiration are contagious and I’m here to spread it. Thank you for reading.