Teaching Upside Down

My Journey to the Joy of Learning

I have always been deeply concerned about the quality of teaching and learning we provide for our students.

For years, I preached the power and potential of technologies and techniques to transform a classroom.

But technologies and techniques do not always work.

I slipped into a funk.


I felt disconnected from my students.


I didn’t know who they were anymore.

So I decided to get to know them.

Every day after class I would announce to my large lecture, “I’m going to lunch.  Anybody who would like to join is welcome!”

And so, every day, day after day, I had lunch with a different student.

There is just one rule of lunch: No small talk.

And as each student opened up to me I started to see them differently.majors364


And my teaching changed.

Instead of starting with technology and technique, I started with them – getting to know them and their needs.

But what really brought back the joy of teaching was rediscovering the joy of learning.

Watching my own kids reminded me that



I started learning things that were hard and scary for me, like drawing (animation), swimming, and handstands:

And as people helped me learn these things, I remembered that on the journey of learning









This website is a humble exploration of the joy of teaching and learning and how to spread that joy to others.


2 comments: On My Journey to the Joy of Learning

  • Howdy Mike. I wanted to leave a note to say that I really enjoy this site so far. I have been thinking about many of these ideas for sometime, but out of a combination of fear and/or laziness I have not done much to change the way I teach undergraduate and graduate science. That said, my teaching is recently shifting and this might be the opportunity to do something new. We will see if I can find the time to pull off a great product. I appreciate the posts. Since we work on the same campus and live 2 blocks from each other we should chat sometime about your teaching awesomeness and how to use these approaches in the college evolutionary biology classroom. Keep up the good work

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About Me

About Me

University Distinguished Teaching Scholar and Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.

Dubbed “the prophet of an education revolution” by the Kansas City Star and “the explainer” by Wired Magazine, Wesch is a recipient of the highly coveted “US Professor of the Year” Award from the Carnegie Foundation. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society and education. His videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed over 20 million times, translated in over 20 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and he was named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic.

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