Last Friday, I was observed in my classroom by my department dean. This can be a stressful event -- it can make an instructor anxious to know that every part of how he or he conducts the classroom is being scrutinized -- but, I am actually pretty comfortable being observed. Don't get me wrong, it still makes me a little nervous, but I'm confident in my teaching methods and have experienced a great deal of success with most students; plus, I welcome feedback from my peers and superiors (teaching, especially at the college level, can sometimes feel lonely because it's just you and the students; that can make it difficult to understand how well you're doing in the classroom, so I like to be observed from time to time in order to better understand what I'm doing well and what needs improvement).
So, I felt the class time on Friday went well, but I was, honestly, a little nervous to receive my feedback and meet with the dean to discuss his observations. This morning I got to do both, and it made me feel awesome!
He had nothing but glowing comments and said that he was extremely impressed by every aspect of the class! He even commented in the feedback that "the class was so interesting that I sometimes found myself forgetting to take notes." I can't express how important a review like this is for me (a new full-time faculty member), and it really helps reinforce that I am doing something I'm good at and enjoy (the dean also commented that I clearly "take joy in teaching" and that my interaction with students was "energetic and dynamic"). He was also impressed that I don't use notes while teaching -- something he commented on in person and on the written feedback, and he asked how I had such tremendous recall.
Students have asked this before as well -- one girl once asked if I had a photographic memory. Do I have a super-human memory? Of course not. I'm just very familiar with my material (I've taught the short story we were discussing about four dozen times), and I do have a pretty good memory. Especially if I write something down, I pretty much remember it permanently (yet, I can't always remember to take my keys with me when I walk out of the house -- it's a tricky thing, the brain).
Anyway, this review has really helped make my Monday.