I Won the Graduate Associate Teaching Award!

I Won the Graduate Associate Teaching Award Featured Image

The year is 2022, and I’ve won the Graduate Associate Teaching Award at The Ohio State University. Let’s talk about it!

Table of Contents

Wait a Second!

If you’ve been around for a bit, you might know that I had actually applied for the Graduate Associate Teaching Award (GATA) a couple of years ago. Funnily enough, given how much work goes into making an application, I thought I’d never apply again.

That said, a couple of things fell into place for me in the Fall of 2021 that made me think applying might be a good idea.

First, I got nominated! Previously, you might remember that I asked students to nominate me. This time around, the nomination came organically. I’m not sure who did it, but I appreciate them for believing in me.

Second, I had actually been taking a couple of teacher education courses where I inevitably had to update a lot of my application materials. This forced me to reflect on things like my teaching statement and CV.

When the time came around to apply, I figured I didn’t have to do too much more work to put together an application, so I just went for it. “Why not?”, I thought.

Reviewing the Portfolio

Previously, I had shared the entire application process. Now that I’ve actually won the award, I figured I’d share some details about the contents of the portfolio (note: I removed the letters from the portfolio for privacy reasons).

The core piece of the portfolio is the teaching statement. For this, I decided to write about the importance of community in education. Over the span of two pages, I wrote about all the different ways I try to build community in the classroom.

From there, I tried to complete the various elements of the portfolio with a focus on community. For example, I shared Jigsaw as an example of an activity that I use to build community. Likewise, when talking about feedback, I tied it back into the idea that feedback is necessary to being sure community is actually being built.

Outside of those three written elements, I also had to share my course reviews, a list of teaching responsibilities, and two letters of recommendation. Overall, I think this portfolio came together much better than the previous one, and I suppose the committee felt the same way. Hopefully, if you’re applying for similar teaching related awards, the portfolio linked above helps!

Reflecting on the Award

With all that out of the way, I wanted to say that I’m not the type of person to brag. In fact, at the time of writing, the only person I told about the award was my wife. Though, I did share it with my Discord, which includes several previous students. Everyone else found out through various newslettersOpens in a new tab. and whatnot at the University. In other words, if you’re reading this now, you’re part of a small group of folks that actually knows.

With that said, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my efforts as an educator. After all, getting this award means I have a bit of a reputation to live up to. Ultimately, I need to look back at the things I’ve been doing over the past few semesters to figure out how I’ll grow going forward.

But that can wait! Because it’s time to party. I’m over the moon with this news, and I’m not really sure why. Awards and whatnot tend not to motivate me, but this feels more like recognition of the work I’ve been doing. No doubt I’m excited to continue supporting my students and making spaces where they can grow and learn.

In the end, this article is short and sweet! I’m on spring break, and this news came at just the right time for me. I’ll be taking the rest of the week to chill. If you’re on break, maybe you should too! Hell, maybe you can read one of these articles:

Otherwise, thanks for hanging out! I appreciate all the support.

Journey to a PhD (45 Articles)—Series Navigation

As my current career trajectory shifts away from engineering, I find myself in a peculiar position as a PhD student. As I explore the latest concepts in Computer Science, you can find that journey documented here in my series titled Journey to a PhD.

Jeremy Grifski

Jeremy grew up in a small town where he enjoyed playing soccer and video games, practicing taekwondo, and trading Pokémon cards. Once out of the nest, he pursued a Bachelors in Computer Engineering with a minor in Game Design. After college, he spent about two years writing software for a major engineering company. Then, he earned a master's in Computer Science and Engineering. Today, he pursues a PhD in Engineering Education in order to ultimately land a teaching gig. In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his wife, playing Overwatch and Phantasy Star Online 2, practicing trombone, watching Penguins hockey, and traveling the world.

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