Celebrating Teaching Day is an annual event hosted by the Center for Teaching and Learning that honors and celebrates the dedication of Georgia Tech faculty and instructors who create engaging, challenging and supportive learning experiences for their students throughout the year.

During the program, Georgia Tech colleagues shared their personal stories of how they’ve encountered challenges, made mistakes, persevered, and moved forward towards their goals. Each of these speakers participated in a Georgia Tech Retreat Exploring Effective Teaching (GTREET) storytelling workshop in January 2018 to hone their storytelling skills and craft their stories. Each of the stories provided examples of how teachers might inspire their students to persevere and deal with the unexpected when it occurs.

Dr. Andrew Eichel , Learning Specialist for the Center for Academic Success (CAS), was among the dozens of other staff members who participated in the storytelling workshop in January that focused on the importance of storytelling to inspire “Grit” in students. Five participants received additional coaching from professional storyteller Shannon Turner to prepare them for the speaking event.

Dr. Eichel’s story was about his experience moving to Turkey, where he lived and taught English for 3 years before pursuing his graduate degrees in medieval literature. CAS’s GT2100 course, designed to help students returning from academic dismissal, has an entire unit devoted to the traits of “Grit” and “Resilience” and thus the storytelling events dovetail perfectly with CAS’s overarching mission to provide unique and impactful assistance to students.

After the performances, the audience was invited to discuss their ideas for how to use storytelling to inspire grit in their students. Here are some of the ideas they shared:

 “To Inspire Grit: Remind students that they’ve persisted through tough moments in the past. Let them tell one of these stories and identify the applicable lessons. Invite past student who’ve done well in a particular course back to share their own tales of persistence and approach to course assignments.”

 “Teaching Grit: I teach healthcare management and I believe strongly in insisting on quality at the end of life as much as the rest. Therefore, I share my own personal stories of managing death and then I require the students make “pull the plug” decisions based on cases.”

“Inspire grit by demonstrating it! Or share a story where you demonstrated it.”

Another part of the event was the “Teaching with Technology Partnership” recognition. The Teaching with Technology Partnership is a learning and technology initiative that aims to support and promote effective and innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. The partnerships are a collaboration between faculty, who sponsor a project, and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). A learning technology specialist from CTL meets with the faculty fellows regularly and serves as a creative partner for developing and implementing the projects. Lacy Hodges, Assistant Director for Academic Transition Programs for the Center for Academic Enrichment was recognized for her part in the GT 1000 Textbook Transformation to an all-digital version.

Celebrating Teaching Day also featured a Poster Session where Georgia Tech faculty and instructors shared their recent teaching-related initiatives. OUE employees included in the poster session and their initiatives:

  • Institutional Transformation: Service Learning, Community Engagement and Ethical Culture in Engineering and Computing
    Colin Potts, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Ellen Zegura, Professor and Chair, Computer Science, Jason Borenstein, Director of Graduate Ethics Program and Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Technology, and Wendy Newstetter
  • Honors Program: Meditation, Mindfulness, and Mental Acuity
    Roberta Berry, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Director of GT Honors Program, Monica Halka, Associate Director GT Honors Program
  • SLS: Community Engagement and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
    Ruth Yow, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist, Serve-Learn-Sustain

Faculty and instructors who received a “Thank a Teacher” note were also recognized at the event. “Thank a Teacher” is sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the program encourages students to recognize teachers, mentors, and advisors who make a significant contribution to their learning. OUE “Thank a Teacher” recipients:

  • Susan Patricia Belmonte, Center for Career Discovery and Development, Associate Academic Professional
  • Richard South, Center for Career Discovery and Development, Career Fair Director-Advisor

To view the program for this year’s event, CLICK HERE.