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A Friday Afternoon Reflection: Random Memorandums

There is nothing quite like a Friday afternoon. The hurry-up pressures of the week come to a halt, and I can catch my breath against the wide open space of a weekend. But, Fridays are special for another reason, too. They give me a chance to actively reflect upon the teaching and learning that occurred (or didn’t occur) during the previous five days in my classroom.

For the past seven years, I have been sharing these Friday afternoon reflections with my students via email. I’ve coined them my “Random Memorandums,” and they incorporate a variety of observations about my task as “professor,” their role as “student,” and the interactions we share. At the outset, these ramblings appear quite arbitrary (In fact, one student christened them my “stray thoughts.”) However, a closer examination reveals that they are not random at all. On the contrary, these Friday messages are an extension of the school experience.  In fact, some might even call them “pedagogy.”

 Following are some key features of these weekly conversations. I have also included some of my entries from past “Random Memorandums.”

We all know that teaching is a work in progress and as we construct an image of the kind of professor we want to be, it is important that we are recognizable in our practice. One means of distinguishing ourselves is by communicating with our students in an open, honest manner. The “Random Memorandum” is one way of accomplishing this.

This article first appeared in The Teaching Professor on October 3, 2014. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.