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Plasme

What do you want from a teacher?

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So I'm currently doing a PhD and am doing lecturing on the side. I've already taught over the last year, but I will probably teach over the next few years too.

And I'm just curious, what do you want out of a teacher? What teaching style works best for you?

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Honestly, the first point for me is honesty. I've had a hell of a lot of teachers that bluff extremely about a number of things and I quickly lose respect for a teacher who can't keep their word and I'll stop taking what they say seriously at all. I'm not much a fan of total pushover teachers when it comes to subjects I have actual interest in. Another thing is consistency, you want a reliable source of knowledge and understanding and along with that someone who is reliable when it comes to work and assignments so you aren't thrown off. Should make you feel familiar with the person and their style. 

Speaking of style, a teacher has to remain interesting. This may be with lectures or anything else but it has to be engaging. I have a professor currently who fails to give incentive to why it is beneficial to understand the properties they describe and as a result many don't understand the work. With being interesting, there should be some sort of effort to show that what they are trying to teach actually matters to some sort of extent. Unless you are dealing with ultra-specialized people, raving on about total abstractions full-stop isn't going to work. 

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Well, I'm currently taking a Psychology class at my college, and I have to say the teacher I have is purely amazing and the best teacher I've ever had in my entire life of going to school. And what I believe is the best thing about this teacher is transparency. She's a lady that loves to be open and as transparent as possible, and I think that's something many teachers should try and be.

Maybe it's me, but I feel a teacher that is very transparent on what all will be covered, have the lessons lined up with a general idea of dates as to when we'll take this and that exam/test, or when papers will be due, etc. That's the best because everything is out in the open and you know the overall pacing will be like, and you can work with it. She along with a few other Psychology teacher wrote the text book and gave it to us all for free, which was a bonus for the whole transparency thing. 

I think another thing, and this is a general thing, but is that eagerness to want to answer questions. Any and all kinds of thought provoking questions, or any questions that come from someone that is stuck, and if they aren't asked during class (due to a student being shy, for example), having a teacher that's readily available after class to speak with or is fast replying back to students via email is also great. 

Something that works for me is when a teacher gives examples on the boards, and if the class still doesn't understand, then give more examples or try to tie real life/relatable things in to use as apart of the example to help drill it in.

 

I think that's really it... Other than the basics such as showing interest in what you're teaching, eager to help, great personality, and just try and do what you can to help your students succeed 

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I'm not sure how much freedom you get over this, but do not limit yourself to a set schedule. I've had lecturers decide they need to rush over some lessons in order to fit the projected schedule in the syllabus into the whole semester. Those were terrible classes in my opinion.

I've also had lecturers & professors that do not mind being a couple of days behind in order to get the lesson across. I once had a professor that was about a month behind on the syllabus. Even though we were chapters behind, that class to me was one of the most helpful and informative. But that was a tenured professor, not sure how much freedom you get to be able to do something like that as a lecturer.

As for teaching style, just try to find something that works well for you overall with the feedback of students. There is no style that is the best in every situation as students have different strengths in learning and teachers have different strengths in teaching.

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Honestly, I would like it if there were a bigger focus on specialization with teachers, depending on both the teachers and students alike. Say there is a group of students in more Honors level of learning. They can learn very fast, and thus needs a teacher that can challenge their capabilities at newer heights.

And if you have those who have a slower time with learning, or have disablities, that they can have more space to learn at their own pace. There are no strenuous time limits or regards to homework that 'needs' to be done. But instead allow the mind of the student explore the options before them.

I highly dought I am being specific enough, but I kinda have found schools in general haven't put focus on the right aspects of education. Especially when it comes to students. I kinda would wish schools were less schools, and more like tools that help and allow one to jump to better things on their own. Instead of how it's built now where it's only going to land you existing jobs based on what level of education you got.

But in regards to myself. I've been through the educational system enough as a student. I've gone through high school and graduated. However, I have found is that the best teacher is the world we live in. I really do not think there really is one set teacher that would help me, since I really do not feel some aspects of learning will be covered for me. But it's how I feel about it.

Edited by Ashwalking Bat

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I think what is really important is a teacher actually being able to teach the subject so that the student understands the material.

It may sound like a vague statement, but it isn't. A great quality in a teach is being able to take a complex subject, and deconstruct it ways that the student can learn the material easily before reconstructing it into the more difficult aspects of the subject. For instance, you wouldn't teach a newcomer calculus if they can't do simple algebra, nor can they do algebra if they can't do basic elementary math, and they sure as hell can't even do that if they can't count or don't even know the numbers.

Even better, it helps to show the application of these things--kinda the reason why some of those math subjects I mentioned have "word problems" for students to solve. It helps them know why they're learning the subject instead of simply taking a class simply because they have to.

I've had a lot of teachers simply just write down stuff in the book on the board without really breaking down the topic they're teaching. I once took a Discrete Mathematic's class in college, and I shit you not only 3 out of 30 people had a remote grasp to actually follow the subject (and even then, they struggled). Meanwhile, I damn good Calculus 1 and 2 professors who broke down the topics piece by piece in easy to understand ways, and they even explained what they could be used for. How good were they? Let's just say that oftimes I had issues staying awake and fell asleep in the class (out of exhaustion, not laziness), yet I passed Cal 1 with a B+!

Meanwhile, I had to take Discrete Math again with a different teacher, who taught the subject rather well (which is ironic, as he had problems speaking English, whereas the first professor I had in the course sure as hell wasn't someone who knew a second language) and I managed to pass the class.

That being said, a lot of it can be due to teaching styles and length of time, so it's not exactly a cut and dry matter. Some teachers wish they could have more time to adapt their style in ways to make it easier for those who are having trouble understanding the subject, so it's not all their fault.

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I don't teach at the Uni anymore because my contract expired 😛 

But I'd like you all to know that I factored in all of your posts!

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If you don't mind me asking, how was your first few months teaching? What was the most enjoyable part of your job? What about the worst? Most annoying? Happiest or saddest? 

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On 4/8/2020 at 2:41 AM, McGroose said:

If you don't mind me asking, how was your first few months teaching? What was the most enjoyable part of your job? What about the worst? Most annoying? Happiest or saddest? 

Sorry for the late response, didn't see your post until now.

The first lesson I ever did was incredibly hard and I almost wanted to quit. I don't think any training prepares you for it and you have to learn from experience. I was in the swing of things by lesson 3.

The best courses I did was Latin, which only had a few students and so I could really aim the lessons at them. The worst was how quiet some of the bigger classes could be. They would be completely silent and wouldn't contribute unless I organised group work, which I didn't really want to do. This is at Undergrad level. It was also a lot of work organising lessons, writing and marking exams.

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