Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Follow-Up to July 7th Post on More Enjoyment

This is the promissed follow-up to the July 7th post on the Observer article "Make Your Teaching and Your Life More Enjoyable." An alternative title might have been "Avoiding Burnout."

The first tip was "Try a New Approach to Your Teaching." I had mentioned a couple of suggested new approaches in teaching. The first of these was to put some fun into your classes. The second was to experience life as a student. Three other teaching approaches that were provided in the article were: (a) Rearrange your teaching schedule to teach at different times or to make class sessions different lengths from what you have been teaching (e.g., from three 45 minute sessions to one 2 hour and 15 minute session.); (b) Change class assignments such as the type of presentations or topics for term papers; and (c) Change your mode of delivery -- say from hi tech to low tech for a day. Or you may ask students to give you specific feedback on your teaching -- or add a field trip -- or team-teach a course --or to change textbooks (but not a good idea if using an Austin text :-)

Remaining tips from the article are appropriate for all RTs -- not just profs. The second general tip is "Take Advantage of New Opportunities." Under this tip are: (a) To take a sabbatical leave or attend an interesting short course. If a university or agency offers sabbaticals -- you would be nuts not to take advantage of it. The sabbatical is a wonderful benefit not to be denied. In terms of taking a course, one of my best experiences at IU was auditing Jim Sherman's attitudes course. It brought me up-to-date on attitudes research and theory -- and taking the course also made me a tougher teacher since I had seen the heavy reading load in Jim's assignments to his grad students taking the course; (b) To collaborate with colleagues on a research project is a great idea. It makes research more interesting and more fun -- and, I believe, generally leads to a stronger study because of the individual strengths of the research team members. Practitioners can collaborate with university faculty; (c) To attend conferences is one of the best ways to become energized. I think every RT should plan to attend at least a couple of conferences or workshops each year.

I'll save the final tips of "Taking Better Care of Yourself," "Spending More Time with People," "Improving Your Work Environment," and "Minimizing Negative Experiences" for a later post. Again, if you want to check the article out for yourself, the information is in the June, 2006, issue of the Observer.


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