I tweeted a few months ago a link to a google docs page where you can see a long list of 1:1 prompts.
This is not coming from a place of me needing more prompts for my 1:1’s — instead, this comes from me flipping through papers from my previous position, and I found a list of conversation starters. I put these on a list & then invited others to add on.
In my current job, I am in a position where I have one on one conversations with the RA’s that I supervise. I currently supervise 16 RA’s and one Assistant Hall Director. The system is set up to where my AHD and I both meet with the RA’s on a weekly basis. Actually, I meet with each RA every other week, while my AHD meets with the RA’s on the off weeks. In practice, we each meet with 8 RA’s per week. It’s a great system.
I want to spend a moment talking about how and why I value 1:1’s. I believe that so much of what we do as supervisors is to provide opportunities for those that we supervise to be successful. In the RA job specifically, I help my RA’s to figure out what it is that their role really entails. These conversations might be processing through a rough duty call or awkward resident interaction; it might be helping an RA understand their role while preforming rounds or planning a program; or it might be helping them to realize they need to be successful in their academics or listening to a challenging moment in their relationship with their significant other.
As a k-12 teacher, I never had a 1:1. As a public speaker before being a teacher, I never had a 1:1. I can actually remember my first 1:1 two years ago with my first supervisor. I was amazed at how deep our conversation went and how I grew to look forward to these times.
It takes time to develop a meaningful relationship with your supervisor — I believe strongly that about 80% of it is up to the supervisor.
I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have quality relationships with everyone that I have supervised — but, I will defend that by saying that I have tried to connect with each one.
I had a conversation earlier this year with someone I supervised last academic year. During that conversation, they shared with me that their new supervisor is good, but that they miss our 1:1’s. With the new supervisor, the conversation is based on going through a list of what this person has (or has not) accomplished in the past two weeks. Rarely do they process events that happened nor does the conversation spread to topics outside of the work place.
Now, it is not for me to say that this is or is not a ‘good’ supervisory relationship — but, for me specifically with undergraduate students, I think it is crucial that we spend time (as professionals) really connecting with them. Showing ourselves as vulnerable, learning their passions, and — of course — coaching them to do their jobs better.
So! That’s my two cents on 1:1’s. What are your experiences? What positive and negative experiences have you had with 1:1’s?