UK GradTeach Live!: Teaching Philosophy in Practice

As a graduate teaching assistant, you are vital to the teaching mission at the University of Kentucky. This was never more apparent than during the Covid-19 pandemic and your central role ensuring instructional continuity through the transition to virtual and/or hybrid teaching and learning. You have dedicated your time and emotional labor to enhancing the learning experiences and success of undergraduates while balancing your many responsibilities as a graduate student. Now it’s time to virtually showcase your teaching beyond the classroom in a celebration of the impactful teaching and learning occurring across campus.

UK GradTeach Live! offers you the opportunity as a former or current graduate teaching assistant (recitation leader, lab leader, or primary instructor) to showcase your teaching philosophy and instructional skills to the university community. Participants will have 3 minutes and 1 slide to engage the audience in their pedagogical grounding/teaching philosophy and present a concrete example of what that philosophy looks like in the in-person, virtual, or hybrid classroom.

The central challenge is to do so in a way that engages and holds the attention of your audience just as you hold the attention of your students. 

In recognition of the challenges of teaching in a pandemic, we invite you to focus your presentation on how modified your teaching practices to engage students in the virtual or hybrid environment. This can relate to a specific strategy that proved effective for enhancing student engagement and learning, or a significant modification you made to an assignment to fit the context in which you taught.

NOTE: Presentations do not have to reflect or relate to teaching during the pandemic. You may still choose to ground your talk in an aspect of your teaching philosophy and an example that you found successful in semesters past and in face-to-face teaching. 

The Graduate School recognizes the excellent and innovative teaching that occurs at all education levels. However, staying within our purview of providing support for TAs contributing to the university’s undergraduate teaching mission, participants must focus their presentation on teaching in a classroom or lab at the college level.

Rules and Judging Criteria

Click here for a printable rubric with rules and judging criteria.

  • The competition is limited to graduate students who are currently, or have recently been, teaching assistants or in primary instructor roles. This includes recitation and lab leaders, instructors teaching from a common syllabus, and instructors teaching their own course in the department.
  • Participants must focus their presentation on teaching in a classroom or lab at the college level
  • One presentation slide is allowed.
  • Additional electronic media (sound and video files) are permitted but will be counted in the three minute time limit.
  • Additional props (costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, models, etc.) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum; competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts the presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the judges is final.


Click here to watch a recording of our preparatory workshop.

Congratulations to our 2021 Winners!


First Place Winner: Kelly Grenier, Political Science, "Teaching Politics Through Art"



Second Place & People's Choice Award Winner: Cassy Jane Werking, History, "Our History Together Starts Here: Grounding the Teaching of American History in Local Lexington History"


Third Place Winner: Priya Karna, Chemistry, "Revolving Physical Chemistry Around Real-Life Applications"


Previous Examples

Below are clips from the winners of our 2019 competition. We highly recommend that you watch these to see how they structured their presentations. Please keep in mind that the requirements have changed this year (last year we allowed three slides and five minutes). For specific questions, please contact Ashley Sorrell.


First Place Winner: Jannell McConnell Parsons, English, "Centering Student Agency: Target Public Audiences and Oral Histories in Appalachia"



Second Place Winner: Sarah Butterbaugh, Family Sciences, "Memes and Theory: Bringing Theory into Context"


Third Place Winner: Luc Dunoyer, Biology, "Increasing Critical Thinking by Teaching Ecology"


2019 Finalists

First Place: Jannell McConnell Parsons, English, "Centering Student Agency: Target Public Audiences and Oral Histories in Appalachia

Second Place: Sarah Butterbaugh, Family Sciences, "Memes and Theory: Bringing Theory into Context"

Third Place: Luc Dunoyer, Biology, "Increasing Critical Thinking by Teaching Ecology

People's Choice: Kanthi Nuti, Chemistry, "Play of Molecular Isomers in Chemistry

Kayla Bohannon, Philosophy, "Reworking the Lecture: A Conversational Approach to the Classroom"

Jonghee Lee Caldararo, Geography, "Teaching that Teaches You the True Pleasure of Learning"

Corinne Gressang, History, "Training Historians: Skills-based Learning"

Hayley Hoffman, Communication, "How to Watch TV Like a Professor"

Kathryn Kohls,  English, "Meme Gif, and Hashtag Rhetoric: Critical Communication through Social Media Genres"

Francisco Luque, Hispanic Studies, "Teaching Spanish with the Multiple Intelligences"

Malinda "Lindy" Massey, German Studies and Teaching World Languages, "Teaching with Memory in Mind: Effectively Honoring Working Memory in the L2 Classroom"

Kateri Kate Miller, Music, "Learn by DOing"

Andrew Welleford, Anatomy and Neurobiology, "Applying the Science of Learning in the Classroom and Doing Science of Your Own!"

Yunzhe Zhu, Agricultural Economics, "Teaching your Students? No, Entertain Them!: How to Improve Attendance of an Evening Class"