Under the wire or Nathalie’s Bio

Hello all.  It’s Nathalie Zarisfi.  I was the last one in the classroom last week, and probably the last post up for the bio.  I am hoping to shake that trend.  So I work in the technology and pedagogy realm, as a Director of a Teaching and Learning Center at a private college in Long Island.  I am interested in technology as it relates to equity in higher education.  My day is mostly spent putting out fires and helping folks with their courses.  But I sincerely believe in personal project time, being creative, building and tinkering and failing.  And this class is my laboratory, my way of building safe space for me.  Not because I want to do it undercover or away from my team, or my faculty.  But because I don’t seem to carve out that time for myself at work.  And I need it.  I am desperate to experiment, and learn and explore.

I may have said this in class: I am a firm believer in failure.  Its how our brains are wired.  It has served me well.  I remembering interviewing for a position at a large public institution, and one of the interview questions was something like, “Could you share with us your teaching philosophy” or the equivalent.  And I have to tell you that I completely and totally blew that interview when I told that I encourage failure.  Crickets, blinking stares.  And then just like that, the interview was over.  Discouraging but not unexpected.  They will come around.

I don’t get a profoundly different response in my workshops or consultations.  I work with a core of highly motivated brilliant people, who don’t feel like they have the option of failing at teaching, and most of the time haven’t even had the chance to learn how to teach.  I try to make it more of a misstep, an act of humility, versus a free fall.   Failure is a tactic that works, knowing and forgetting, and learning it all over again.

I am looking forward to learning from you, with you, and failing forward.