Never Forget What It Was Like to be a Student
After a great deal of reflection, I found this statement to be at the core of my teaching philosophy. If you can not understand students, you can not expect to instruct them or guide their learning as effectively. Some of my best teachers, for example, where those who understood that students’ attention spans were limited and at any given moment their pupils were facing many more challenges than those merely presented in class. By developing a connection with students on some level, these teachers demanded a respect that was not simply based on fear. Consequently, in these classes my fellow students and I were more self-motivated to do well since the level of respect we had for our teachers also included a desire to do well and please them with outstanding academic performance.
A close student-teacher relationship works in two ways, and in my opinion, not only benefits the students but has the added bonus of benefiting the teacher as well. Teachers who develop a rapport with students will be more likely to be driven to create dynamic lessons that engage a diverse group students than teachers who merely show up and present information in a bland, mundane manner to a monotonous sea of faces. By understanding students, teachers are also able to gauge what type of lessons would be most appropriate and effective. Some classes, for example, may be able to work well cooperatively while another class may need the same material presented in a more direct lecture style. By connecting with the class, a teacher also fosters a classroom dynamic that makes students feel comfortable with asking questions and occasionally giving a wrong answer. This allows the teacher to better assess the students’ understanding of a lesson or concept.
With regard to my own future teaching, I would rather students leave my class with more confidence in there ability to learn even if this does not directly translate to a profound understanding of subject material. Drawing on my experiences as a student, I know that the minute details of a subject are not what remain...