Who was your favorite teacher? Take as long as you need. Chances are if you’re a teacher it wasn’t the easiest going teacher in school. One of my favorite teachers I ever had was one of the most hard headed people I know. But I was determined to work hard in his class.
As a teacher myself, I take my role very seriously knowing that a lot of my students look to me as more than just a teacher but also as a coach and role model. It can be a powerful thing to wield and must be handled with care because one careless phrase could turn them in the wrong direction.
While they’re are nearly unlimited areas to teach in, to me there are really only two kinds of teachers: Personal and Impersonal. An Impersonal teacher is an educator who holds no connection to his students and is merely a resource for his or her students to gather information from. I must be honest, a textbook would be cheaper and more convenient. Now I’m sure someone is saying “But Alex, how will students know what to learn if the teachers not their. A textbook can’t just fill in all the details.” And you would be absolutely right, but the problem is a student doesn’t know what he or she doesn’t know. Students don’t know when they are missing this information or what details are more important. That’s where it is up to the teacher to create an environment that is personalized, detailed, and hand tailored to the needs of the student. That is something that a textbook will never be able to do. Students pay for your services and expect a level of detailed and personalized service to help them with their learning needs.
If you’re a teacher teaching some sort of general education class, such as a level one algebra class, then chances are there is somebody there who is just doing it because it is a required course for them to get their philosophy major. Their is no reason that you should give up on this student. If anything it should be a challenge to you to get this student to a more comfortable place with your field of work.
Teachers who take a personal interest in their work and the students work will always yield better results. Students will respond better and even if they don’t like or understand the things you are teaching them they will come to respect you more. Whenever possible you should make it a goal to become familiar with your students: Who they are, what they do, their goals and aspirations. Students don’t always need teachers who inspire, they just need someone they can relate to.
In my line of teaching I often work in small groups or even one on one environments so it is easier for me to have a personal teaching relationship with my students. However it is still very easy when teaching throughout the day to just slip into teaching “at” the student as opposed to working with the student and being more than just your typical teacher.
While I realize it’s not always practical if you’re a professor teaching a 150 student group lecture, students will always catch on to teachers who are passionate about their teaching. They will learn more and you will feel more fulfilled as a teacher. So take your work as an educator seriously because these students are our future and they deserve to learn from someone who truly wants the best for them.