Reflecting on Your Teaching

By Ashley Harlow |

The quarter system can be challenging and goes by so quickly! With office hours, constant grading, and planning classes or lab/discussion sections, there needs to be more room to reflect on your pedagogical practices and teaching persona. Despite the limited time and stress the quarter can create, reflecting on your teaching, how you would like to grow, and your strengths as an instructor is super important.


[Image Description: Instructor sitting at her desk and putting her head down in frustration.]

Caption: Teaching on top of all of our other responsibilities can be tiring!

With a lot on our plates, reflection is the first thing that can go. However, research shows the significant benefits reflection can have on our teaching. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Supporting your professional development by reflecting on the skills you are developing while teaching and which you still want to establish.
  2. Increasing your use of innovative teaching practices. Giving yourself time to think about what went well in the class and what could have gone better allows you to consider alternate ways to teach the material rather than the same repeated practices each quarter.
  3. Strengthening student engagement and student-instructor relationships. Thinking deeply about our courses allows us to stay in tune with how to engage students and build relationships with students more effectively.

Developing problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Teaching can help us build more skills than solely how to lecture. For example, when we reflect, we practice both problem-solving and critical thinking skills.


[Image Description: Thought bubbles bouncing off the word ‘reflect’.]

Caption: Reflecting takes a lot of thought!

Whether you have been reflecting throughout your teaching experience or are just starting now, taking a summative look back at the entire quarter can help you think about your strengths and areas of growth as an instructor. Trying to figure out where to start? Take a look at these helpful tips to use to reflect on your quarter:

  • Make a list of the strengths and areas of improvement you saw in your teaching for the quarter. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE STRENGTHS! You have a lot of positives to your teaching that should also be considered.
  • After listing all of the strengths and weaknesses, choose 1-3 areas of improvement that are the most important. What are ways to work on these areas of growth? What could you do differently? What professional development could you seek (maybe from TADP?) to help with your teaching?
  • What evidence from the quarter can you save to show that you are reflective and the strengths in your teaching?


[Image Description: Jo Koy talking about the importance of evidence in his show.]

Caption: Collecting evidence now is super helpful for your future self on the job market.

After reflecting, the work isn’t over! Collecting evidence each quarter is super important for your future self on the job market. Even if you are looking for industry and research-focused positions, proof of your teaching strengths can benefit you when writing teaching philosophy statements or cover letters to show transferable skills you have developed as a TA or instructor. Collecting the evidence now rather than gathering it at the end of your teaching will save you the effort of trying to remember everything you have done in your teaching while in graduate school. 

Here are some common pieces of evidence students collect:

  • Examples of syllabi they may have written
  • Examples of assignments they have created
  • Examples of rubrics created
  • Student evaluations
  • Student emails of appreciation 
  • Document with specific examples of events that occurred in the class that represent their strengths

This list is not exhaustive but can get you started in deciding what evidence you want to collect. 

Do you still want more support on how to reflect? TADP has got you! Each quarter in Week 8, TADP holds a workshop to provide structured time with your peers to reflect and decide which evidence you should document for the quarter. Winter quarter’s reflection workshop is Friday, March 1st, from 2-3 pm. You can find more information at We hope to see you there!