Tips for professors and teachers
As a student, I've had many teachers and professors come into my life. Some of them were good, some bad, some beyond salvation. But only a few have ever left an impression on me that will last for a long long time to come. They were the educators with a special gift of being able to impart their knowledge in the best way possible, so that students, like me, were instantly receptive to all that they had to share. They commanded attention. On the other hand, I've also had teachers who I absolutely loathed and wished would get diarrhea or something equally unpleasant.
Sitting in those lectures I would find myself constantly comparing the two extremes of teaching styles and then it dawned upon me, the qualities that make a great teacher. I would like to share with you the secrets of how to become a GREAT Teacher
1) COME TO CLASS WITH AN ATTITUDE OF TOLERANCE, RESPECT AND OPTIMISM:
Just like all parts of life, the right attitude is very important when dealing with students. You have to come to class with a smile and the right attitude. Trust me, being the smart and fun teacher is much better then being the firm, tight lipped taskmaster who everyone despises behind the back. Students are after all kids, even when there 18, so come prepared to tolerate all their mischief and not lose your cool and composure. Respect them and they will respect you. People tend to mould themselves as per other people’s expectations from them. As a teacher, if you expect great results from your students, and acknowledge them in that way, constantly reassuring them that they can do it, they will eventually prove you true and succeed at whatever task they are given.
2) INTERACT WITH THE CLASS:
Don't be a parrot. Don't just enter, give a rehearsed boring old lecture on the subject and then leave. Be someone whose presence is felt in the class and looked forward to. This can be achieved by interacting with the students on topics sometimes beyond the realm of conventional academics. Maybe some interesting news or college/school event. Talk to them about how the other lectures are going, are they happy with the teaching methodology, crack a joke, share some anecdote about your life, anything to show your personality in a better light.
Let the students know, that you're a human being too and that they can be free around you. Free enough to share their opinions, ask doubts, come for help and give valuable feedback. It doesn't have to be much, just two minutes before the lecture or a minute in between will easily suffice. You're main priority still, is to cover the subject matter. Don't forget that either.
3) BE WELL PREPARED WITH THE SUBJECT:
This is a really delicate matter. Make sure that you are thoroughly clear with all the concepts of the subject. Look at it with all different angles and imagine the kind of queries a student could ask and try to answer them. Unless your class is full of drones, who only listen, there are definitely going to be some kids who just have a different take on things. These are the ones who are going to test you're skills. It may be for fun or a genuine question, but when a student asks something about the subject, you'd do well to be capable to answer it. Preparing before hand also helps in easily gaining a FLOW when teaching in class.
I've had many teachers who knew squat about their subjects and I could never get myself to respect them. So be smart and be well prepared. Take some notes to class if need be.
4)NEVER BE VIOLENT OR RASH IN CLASS:
I truly believe that violence is never the way to educate the youth. Hitting the students, screaming at them, verbally or emotionally impressing upon them is deteriorating and deters from actual learning. It only leads to a fear driven approach to learning, which isn't even learning, as the student only ends up mugging up the answers to please the teacher and escape from his/her wrath. Cramming and mugging is never TRUE learning. What I've found quite common in schools is that students are afraid to go up in front of the class. The combined effect of being put on the spot, peer pressure, social pressure and asked to recall facts is something the students don't want to ever have to go through.
So instead of physical or emotional punishment for misbehavior, students should be asked surprise questions or asked to give a 5 minute seminar or something to that degree. While this is also a fear driven approach, it is a much lesser evil of the two. The students learn to conquer a lot of their fears of the stage, social pressure and public speaking. Besides, facts can only be memorized, there's nothing to learn in facts. there just that...facts.
5)TREAT EVERY STUDENT EQUALLY:
Every student is special and while I realize it's practically impossible for the teacher to give every student equal attention. One must attempt to be as fair and unbiased, to the needs of all the pupils, as possible. Every student’s doubts must be cleared and opinion heard. Listening to a few and Ignoring the others can lead to the development of inferiority complex or self demeaning of the student. If there is an issue of time, you can inform the student to meet you after class with their query and have it resolved then. Be open to the students and be open FOR the students.
Realize that as an educator of the society, you are charged with the responsibility of grooming the students to the best of their potential. Encourage them to be the best that they can be in all endeavors, support them, lend them your experience. Don't deter them, but empower them to grow up to become the leaders of the future.