DISCUSSION for PROF-it Session: Teaching at a Community College Part 2: CCBC (Community College of Baltimore County)

Welcome to the post-session discussion board: Let’s talk!

Objective: The most important part of any PROF-it (Professors-in-Training) seminar is what you do afterward. What meaning(s) did you make of the discussion? What do you plan to do with what you learned, either from our faculty leader and PROF-it teaching fellow or from your own reflections? The goal of this discussion board is to solidify and document your understandings and plans, and build upon what you’ve discovered with other participants as soon as possible after the session. We’ll try to keep the discussion going, so check back to see what others have contributed!

Session basicsTeaching at a Community College Part II: Explore a unique opportunity to teach at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)

  • For all TAs, graduate students interested in teaching, and postdocs
  • DateFriday, November 7, 2014
  • Time: 12-2pm
  • LocationComm329  (UMBC Campus)
Evaluate! Discuss!

Make the most of your attendance at each PROF-it event! Discuss what you learned with other participants in the comments section below. Your participation in the PROF-it community boards counts toward possible recommendations when you apply to teaching fellowships with PROF-it partner institutions, and posting immediately following a session helps you to document your immediate reflections and plans for your own use in the future. We hope to see you again soon.

7 thoughts on “DISCUSSION for PROF-it Session: Teaching at a Community College Part 2: CCBC (Community College of Baltimore County)

  1. Thank you for attending our session; we had a great discussion! This space is for us to record our take-home messages. If you need them, I’ve added some ideas from which you may choose, but feel free to discuss other reflections.

    1) To what extent will you expect students to solve their own problems outside of your class?
    2) How do you plan to address the motivational and study skills-based needs of your students outside of the basic content? For example, how will you learn about resources available to you and your students for specific issues (financial support, writing/other developmental skills, motivational or emotional/psychological help, other issues)? CCBC has Continuing Education services or the Judicial Affairs office for more formal policy and enforcement, but you might also try to explore resources external to the university system for your students.
    3) Within your course (think about the real skills that are needed in professionals in your discipline), how will you make expectations of what students should be able to accomplish clear in your syllabus and assignment guidelines? How will you plan for creating realistic expectations for your own teaching with mentors who might guide you?
    4) A final discussion option, how will you pull from experiences in your own life to inspire and affirm your students, confirming their potential for success? How will you build a sense of community in your classes (e.g., Anna mentioned having weekly icebreakers that have students connect on some topic of discussion as class gets started)?

    A couple of resources mentioned in the discussion:
    – The CCBC Website: http://www.ccbcmd.edu/ – if you apply for the fellowship, remember to also submit your application directly to the college so that they will have your application when the recommendations go out from PROF-it.
    – Here is the article I mentioned about some challenges many community college students face today. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/nyregion/community-college-students-face-a-very-long-road-to-graduation.html?smid=tw-share&_r=2
    – Also, a link back to the video we watched in the seminar that is specific to the four CCBC student’s financial balance: youtu.be/k6GAv-VDjfk. You can also explore the rest of the awesome resources on the CCBC YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCBCMD/videos

    Also, ask any follow-up questions that we might forward to Dr. de Wit and Anna. Looking forward to the conversation!


    1. Hello. I missed Friday’s session because I was at a conference in New Mexico, but have been thinking about these questions. Regarding #2, if I got a position at CCBC I would spend time on campus familiarizing myself with the resources available to faculty and students, as well as the day-to-day culture. I would also participate in any and all faculty trainings. In addition, I would ask my faculty mentor about resources. Regarding #4, I will cite my own experiences in overcoming hurdles, such as difficult classes, to help encourage students to overcome theirs. I would build community by framing the coursework as something we all want to master together.


  2. (3)Teachers should always keep in mind that they were once students. Also, that learning continues, even for them and that student-teacher relationships are vital for academic success. While it’s true that we will not be able to please every student, we have to remain approachable; allowing students to feel that we are concerned about their success. Rigorous lessons are not supposed to feel dreadful to the students. They involve higher order thinking, but they should feel inviting to the student, otherwise students will predict failure right away and become unmotivated to try. We should not expect that every student has prior knowledge of the content we are teaching. If possible, I think it’s a good idea to have the syllabus available a few weeks before class begins (via online @ Blackboard). Also, if there is an email list of the students who are registered for the class, the teacher should send out greetings to the potential students…opening up discussion for any questions or concerns they may have about the course requirements. I know that not all students check their emails, but this method could possibly reach a good percentage of the class.

    Teachers (we) should not only be knowledgeable in our content area, but we should also have a sufficient amount of knowledge about the organization we are working for. In this case, knowing the student services that CCBC offers would be a key element to offering students guidance towards success the outside of the classroom. When working for any company, the employee should learn about the company’s mission, structures, etc. I think that in order to give the students at CCBC a qualifying educational experience, teachers should learn about the college’s history, its current trends and missions, the go-to person for financial assistance, scholarships, and even counseling or tutoring opportunities. Being apart of an academic institution means to not just clock in and teach at your scheduled time, but to build relationships with other teachers and staff members.


  3. 4) building a community environment within the classroom- I enjoyed hearing many examples of ways to address teaching a class with a wide range of incoming student academic history and/or knowledge of the course subject matter. As a student in EDUC 688 Methods and Techniques for TESOL, we are studying ways to engage students’ learning via interactive methods and group work in the classroom. Following is a link to a book listed in Blackboard for a class assignment. The class read Chapter 12, which describes methods for sustaining interaction through group work in a language class setting. It has very practical techniques which could be applied to other subjects as well. The entire book can be found on the following website; Chapter 12 is on pages 176-191. Copy and paste the link in a new window. https://pedufopenglish.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/teaching-by-principles-douglas-brown.pdf


  4. 1) The extent that I would expect my students to solve their own problems outside of class mostly depends on what type of problem it is. I believe a teacher should try to maximize the learning experience, so if the problem is interfering with their ability to learn in any way, I believe the teacher should at least attempt to help solve it. If the problem is something directly related to class such as they do not understand the material, then I completely expect them to come to me for help. If it is a long term direct problem, I may suggest getting a tutor. If the problem is indirectly related class, such as not enough sleep or transportation issues, then I would be willing to offer advice and recommend resources to help them but in the end it is up to them to use those resources. Any other problems that are not interfering with their ability to learn, I expect them to be able to solve themselves.


  5. This session was very informative. I appreciate being introduced to the challenges faced by this particular population of students (students in the CCBC system).

    1) I expect students to solve most of their problems outside of class because a large majority of students will be adults that are going back to continue their education. However, I do know that students may require some assistance to help solve their problems outside of class.

    2) The first thing I would do is make sure to attend a faculty orientation to ensure I am aware of all the resources CCBC has to offer its students. That way if a student is in need of assistance, I would know the direction to point them toward. As far as addressing motivational and study skills of my students, I plan on using various techniques such as group discussions, case study discussions, and partnered class activities to keep the class engaged. If there are individuals who are not motivated, I will try to talk to them to see if there is a deeper issue or problem that needs to be solved. But ultimately it is up to each student to motivate themselves to do well.

    3) I think that building a sense of community in the classroom is very important. I want my students to feel comfortable during class and also to feel excited (this may be a stretch) to come to class and learn. I will share with my students my personal background of hard work and perseverance so they will know that it is possible to achieve goals through hard work.

    4) I think talking with the faculty mentor regarding developing my syllabus will be essential to my success in communicating what is expected of my students. My faculty mentor will be able to tell me how realistic the expectations of my class are. Also, I will communicate my expectations clearly and concisely in the syllabus and go over those expectations during the first class to make sure the students completely understand what is expected of them.


  6. I talked to my mother about how she managed going through college while raising two kids and I wanted to share a technique she used:
    Whenever my mother had to study, she would do so by reading her notes using funny voices to my sister and me. My sister and I enjoyed the funny voices, regardless of not knowing what she was actually saying, and speaking the notes out loud helped my mother remember them.


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