What Kind of College Instructor Are You?

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It is important today to have a good education, and we all know that the key to this is having good college instructors.

If you are a college instructor, you know how important your role is to your students’ success. Students benefit from having good instructors, and suffer from having bad ones. You will know if your teaching is not up to scratch because of the way your students behave around you, and the way they talk about you to other people.  If your college or university has student evaluations, they will evaluate you and your teaching skills and style with honesty. If you get positive evaluations, that is good. But if you get negative evaluations, then it is time for you to reevaluate how you teach.

A good instructor is a reflective one. Take a look at this checklist of qualities a good instructor possesses, and appraise yourself honestly to analyze your strengths and weaknesses in the classroom, and decide what you need to do to improve.

  1. Do you make your students think? Does your selection of reading materials, your teaching style, and your attitude towards your students encourage them to explore and question?
  2. Are you kind yet firm towards your students? Are your classroom expectations of your students too harsh or too lenient – for example do you always make clear your requirements for their attendance in class, doing and turning in homework, doing and turning in make-up work when they have been absent, etc.?
  3. Do you care about your students and their success? Do you show them you care about them? Would your students say you care about them, and how would they say you show this caring?
  4. Do you grade your students fairly? Have you ever had a student who accused you of grading him or her unfairly?
  5. Are you patient with your students? Do you control your temper with them? Have you ever lost your patience with them and spoken in a way you have later regretted?
  6. Do you approach your students with the attitude of a person who can guide them to success? Do you listen to them when they make suggestions on how to improve the class? Do you listen to them, period?
  7. Have you ever had moments when your students expressed the desire to study a subject you are teaching them further, including to the point of majoring in it? What steps have you taken to help them do so?
  8. Can your students approach you if they have a problem or a question? If not, how can you improve your students' access to you?
  9. Do you try to find out your students' learning styles? If so, how do you gear your teaching to them?
  10. Do you think your interactions with your students have made you a better person? If so, how?

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a college instructor will help you build on the former and improve on the latter, making you stronger in your teaching and in your classroom management. It will also make you a more effective instructor, and more able to reach your students and make a positive impact on their lives.

Arora, Leseane, and Raisinghani1 published an interesting article on whether or not learning styles were related to how effective teachers were in the classroom. Arora, Leseane, and Raisinghani's conclusions should make you think about how your teaching style positively or negatively impacts your students' success.

How do you want your students to remember you? Do you want them to remember you as someone who did not care about them and their success, or who was too hard? Or better yet, do you want them to remember you as someone who cared about them, who worked hard to help them succeed and who played a crucial role in their education? The choice is yours.

References:

  1. Arora, A.S, Leseane, R., and Raisinghani, M.S., 2010. Learning and teaching styles for teaching effectiveness: an empirical analysis. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, [e-journal] 6(1), pp.1-13. Available through: the Fairmont State University Library website  [Accessed 10 February 2016].

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