Earlier this summer I read Anthony Weeks’ article, Toward a New Ethic of Listening and have been thinking about it since in the context of how we listen to students.

When they come to us asking questions, asking for help, telling us their stories, how we listen to them informs how we respond.

Do we listen impatiently, hoping to get through all our appointments with enough time to plan the next class, finish marking assignments?

Do we listen half-attentively, dismissing their concerns (a little) because our own student experience allows us the privilege of believing student life can’t be that hard?

Do we listen cynically, hearing not their voices, but the voices of students who may have stretched the truth, manipulated us in previous semesters, and by golly, we are not falling for that again.

Or do we listen as we ought…with attention, with genuine interest, with caring, with empathy…listening with the understanding that on the other side of the story is a human being who needs and deserves to be heard and to be believed.

We can’t always change a deadline, fix a problem, or give a student what they are asking for.

But what we can do is listen to understand. Everyone deserves that.


I have not written. It has been a year.

Blame the labour dispute/work stoppage/strike (pick your language) – everyone else does. There can be no doubt that the 2017-2018 year was TOUGH on everyone. “An extraordinary year”, is what my Dean calls it…and she is not wrong.

There are a million posts I wanted to write. Changes in perspective. Thoughts on evaluation. Challenges. Opportunities. Gamification of curriculum. Internationalization. Books I’ve read. Faculty coaching. Conferences and retreats. Ontario Extends. OER. Worl-Life Balance.

The list continues.

The short version of all this is that I would like to make time to blog more regularly.

I updated this site today. It’s still a work in progress. I’m calling it Out-of-Office Hours because the truth is that even when I’m not in the office, I am sometimes thinking about work. I wanted a blog to reflect that.

photo of woman using her laptop

Photo by bruce mars on