I am a college student. Therefore, I have college professors. I have had the privilege of being taught by some fantastic people. I have also had the misfortune of being taught by some not so fantastic people. Teaching is a difficult profession. You have so many different personalities to educate and cooperate with, and I have the utmost respect for those who choose this career. You certainly have more patience than I. These three things are qualities I consider crucial to being an outstanding educator, whether you are a college professor or second grade teacher.
I would like to add a disclaimer that my intention is in no way to single out any professor I have ever been in class with or offend anyone in the teaching profession. This is my personal opinion of a few things I believe make great teachers.
1. Love what you teach
This is super important. If you come to class and read off of a PowerPoint presentation for 50 minutes, that basically makes you the same as students when they’re reviewing slides the night before the test. Show me that you want to be here as much as I do (most of the time) and teach me what you know. Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable in the subject and you aren’t just regurgitating a text book. Love what you teach and it will be easier for me to love it too.
2. Respect my time
I have had a few professors that every class without fail, use up every second of the allotted class period. There is nothing wrong with this. However, when you hold us over in class for five or even ten minutes, threatening that if we leave, we will miss important info for the next test, it messes up my schedule. I don’t want to be late to my next class. My professors don’t care what happened. They just know I was late to their class and that they just found a new person for their watch list. Or maybe I have to get to work, or a hair appointment, or catch the bus to get to the gym in time for Zumba. I respect your time by being in my seat in class on time and ready to learn, so please respect mine.
3. Talk to me as a person
Students are told our entire lives to respect authority, don’t talk back, speak only when appropriate, etc. Not so much anymore, but when I was younger, speaking to the teacher in class or asking questions was intimidating to me. When teachers encourage us to speak up and reassure us there are no dumb questions, it is so much easier to raise my hand for discussion. Teachers should help us feel confident in our ability to succeed, not make us debate back in forth in our minds whether we have a valid question. In college, it’s a little more difficult due to class size, but I also love when professors either learn or at least remember my name after I’ve talked to them a few times. I feel so much more valued and like they actually care about who I am as a person, not just their student trying to make a grade.
I definitely believe that teachers are underrated. They work hard and are responsible for the country’s youth at many different stages of life. They are some of the most influential people we encounter in our adolescence and play a role in how our minds and opinions develop. Students should work hard no matter what, but fantastic teachers make the ride so much better.