Things I am going to keep in mind as a future teacher

The practice of education has probably the biggest impact on our society, starting from the scale of an individual to shaping the future of life on earth. Before taking this course of contemporary pedagogy, my perception of education like many others was very much limited to the idea of exchange of knowledge between the educator and the student. My thoughts on being a good teacher would revolve around only how to become a more efficient facilitator of the technical knowledge. There are numerous other facets, like taking into consideration inclusion, diversity, ethical issues, the human factors that would extend a teacher-student relationship beyond the classroom, that makes the process of education complete.

Every year my PhD advisor creates an yearly family newsletter sharing the events of his family with all his students. I find this really sweet, it lets me know that my advisor is not just a great scientist, he is a great father and husband who loves to spend time with his family! And this knowledge affects the dynamics of my interaction with him, allowing it to be more informal and personal. For the class that I am a TA for, the professor asks the students to write something good or positive about their exam on the top of their test paper. Among the wide variety of things they write, one of the students addressed the professor as “the fantastical Mr. S”! This caught my attention and immediately made me happy and made the tedious task of grading much enjoyable. There are innumerable ways to connect to our students, and making such human connections goes a long way in making a classroom a better place not just for learning the subject, but to be a more respecting, thoughtful, appreciating and tolerant person.

Just like every research topic needs a good motivation, learning a subject becomes way more interesting once we know why we are learning it and how it affects the world we live in. It is imperative for students to be aware of the ethical issues, the environmental impacts, the interdisciplinary crossroads that surrounds a topic for them to have a complete expertise on the subject. My biggest takeaway from this course was that it forced me to think about teaching as a much more comprehensive practice of sharing not only knowledge, but also emotions.


13 Replies to “Things I am going to keep in mind as a future teacher”

  1. Thanks for your post! I especially appreciate what you shared about the students leaving positive comments on tests and how that made grading more enjoyable. One of the things that I have learned through this class is the importance for both student and teacher to find and retain enjoyment of learning. I know that this is something that I frequently lose sight of and I hope to be more mindful of this as I go forward as a student and educator.

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    1. Thank you Shannon for your comment! Yes, losing sight of these important details is a problem with me too, specially as an inexperienced teacher I have felt that I put all my focus on the technicalities of how to convey the subject matter better. I too hope to consciously keep these in mind in future.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences and what you have learned throughout this class, Riya. I agree with you that connecting and sharing not just knowledge, but also emotion is what makes professors seem human and relatable. Incorporating elements where we as educators can share our lives and what we go through with our students is important to building that strong student-teacher relationship.

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    1. Thank you Minh for your comment! Yes, sharing our own experiences is a great way to bond with students. I still find it hard to practice, but I hope with more experience I get better at it.

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  3. I am glad that we can all find educators like the fantastic Mr.S. I would think all of us in this class strive to be a teacher like this. I really like the tidbits you share here about your adviser and I think extending a little bit of our humanity/ a glimpse into your softer side really helps to let your students connect with you. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I appreciate your thoughts and experiences in making educators more human and “undivided” as Palmer states. When teachers aren’t able to express their values and opinions it equates us to machines; if we want our students to develop authentic voices we need to model that behavior as well.

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  5. Hi Riya,
    I agree that seeing our jobs as educators as a multi-faceted and extremely human endeavor is one of the biggest takeaways/realizations that we try to help students see during their time in this course. Your prof sounds like a great mentor and I am happy that you have had such a positive experience working with him and seeing the ways in which he is connecting with students on a very personal, human level. It is easy to think of the work we do in terms of quantity and trying to grade the quality; but it’s really about meeting each student where they are as a person and helping them grow into who they will become–whatever that means for each individual. Thank you for sharing this reflection and showing us the change in thinking/mindset that you have experienced this semester. No doubt it will have a profoundly positive impact on your future as an educator and your students will only benefit from their time studying with you.

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    1. Hello Sara, thanks for your comment! Yes the biggest takeaway message for me from this course was to become aware and be mindful of all the diverse factors that help us become more genuine and more purposeful of what we are trying to achieve as teachers.

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  6. Great post Riya! I think I’m also on the same page as you. Being a student for such a long period I think I know (I guess we all know) what works, which teacher we liked the most and why?. But I do not think I ever put all together until I took these classes. I really like what your advisor does. Because I think when students are comfortable with you, they are more likely to approach you with their questions.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your experience Riya. I also gain the same benefits of this class. The comments that I have had from other classmates on my posts or the feedback on my paper are extremely helpful, and they made me enjoy the class. So, I know how is the importance when students provide or receive useful comments.

    Great Post.

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  8. Great post. It is really important to develop a good healthy student-teacher relationship. I believe that if a teacher is more than just a person who imparts knowledge. A teacher also has the responsibility of shaping the lives of the students outside the classroom. And the classroom atmosphere, ethics, and diversity play a big role in this respect.

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  9. Thank you for your post! I think you bring up a great point that students feel much more engaged when they are engaged with, and when the professor is presented approachably. Making connections with students, as you pointed out, can be done in any number of ways but if done really increases the quality of education for all involved. I think one of my biggest take a ways from this class, my time as a student, and my time TAing is that there isn’t a signal best way to connect, but the most effective are also the most authentic/genuine. I believe this is good – we aren’t all funny, or charismatic – but those things don’t always need to be in play to connect with students… it can be as simple as just caring, or taking an interest and being ourselves.

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  10. Along with you, prior to this course I taught I knew about pedagogy, but it turns out, there is so much more to it. The idea of being the best faculty comes with a lot of work. When thinking of the best teaching method, one must truly look at a diverse way of teaching starting from syllabus creation to course delivery. I have learned so much in this course, now it’s time to put it in action.

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