When I started my first position as a full-time faculty member last fall there were obvious challenges related to preparing, teaching, and grading for three classes instead of one but the experience itself was nothing new since I had been teaching for years. The introduction of advising to my routine this fall, however, has been a very different experience.
The first time that I taught I had years of experience as a student to draw on for examples of what kind of teacher I wanted to be. Beyond my experiences with various mentors over the years, I am quickly realizing that I was never advised about choosing courses as an undergraduate because I had a copy of the graduation requirements and I knew what I needed to take. Magnifying this inexperience is the fact that I am still learning about the requirements at my institution, which are sometimes fluid as courses in various departments substitute for others.
As a result, each meeting with a student has felt inefficient as I hurriedly searched for answers to their questions on the school’s somewhat ineffective website. Through this process I am learning a lot but I wish that my education in these areas did not have to come at the price of looking incompetent and, worse, potentially directing students down the wrong paths.