Teacher of the Week
Peter A. O'Connell
Assistant Professor, Department of Classics
"A rigorous, first-rate scholar as well as a dedicated and engaging teacher."
The Center for Teaching and Learning recognizes Peter A. O'Connell as CTL Teacher of the Week. O'Connell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics.
When preparing to teach, Dr. Peter A. O’Connell tries to imagine himself in the place of the student, asking himself what kind of teacher he would want leading the class. How would that teacher interact with the students? What kind of strategies would the teacher use? Fortunately, he is able to call on memories of the numerous teachers who stood out and made an impact on his own educational path. Additionally, he is surrounded by talented colleagues. By seeing them in action, he is exposed to new teaching methods which he can try out in his own classroom. By remaining a student to the art of teaching, O’Connell continues to grow and improve as an instructor.
Though unafraid to try new teaching strategies, O’Connell maintains a fondness for the tried and true foundation of most other strategies: class participation. Whether it means calling on each student daily in a discussion based class or setting aside time in the semester for each student to give a presentation, he prioritizes these opportunities for every student’s voice to be heard. This allows students to feel they are playing an active role in shaping the content and direction of the course. With a greater investment in the outcome, students are naturally more engaged.
Dr. O’Connell values the time and effort of his students, so he strives for transparency, making sure they know exactly what is expected of them and what they can expect from him. This care and respect makes an impression on his students and is a large factor in his success as a teacher. Mary Kelly, a former student and advisee of Dr. O’Connell had this to say about the experience: “He stands out as one of the best teachers I have ever had because he possesses the rare combination of being a rigorous, first-rate scholar as well as a dedicated and engaging teacher . . . He always takes time to say hello and share a sincerely kind word. Those small gestures go a long way.”
See O'Connell's departmental profile: http://www.classics.uga.edu/directory/peter-oconnell