I think this week’s readings challenged me a bit. I’ve always enjoyed teaching and knew it was something I wanted to do professionally. I enjoy interacting with students, and to me, teaching feels like a way that I can make an impact on the lives of others. That being said, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it means to be the “ideal” teacher. How do they behave in the classroom? What kinds of teachers get students to talk about them (in a good way)? As I’ve taken classes, I’ve written down what I like about my professors – things like the degree to which they’re approachable, entertaining, or knowledgeable. This, however, became a double-edged sword. Though it gave me comfort to have a list of attributes I could aim for, it made be nervous in the sense that I was worried I couldn’t be those things. Or, if I could, would it seem authentic? This week’s readings were a good reminder that good teaching is not a one-size-fits-all answer.
I do want to be approachable, entertaining, and knowledgeable. But I also realize that I can be other things as well. Like Sarah Deel, I can be a bit rigid and detail oriented. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a good teacher; it simply means that I have to find a way to make these qualities work in the classroom. These qualities help keep me organized and make me well-prepared for class. What I thought was my weakness, in some ways, is my strength.
The wonderful thing about teaching is that we need a variety of teachers. This need stems from the fact that we have a variety of students. The people we teach are individuals, and they need different things. In the same vein, teachers are individuals, and bring different things to the table. This week’s readings were a good reminder that it’s not about fitting into mold of what makes a good teacher; it’s about finding a way to bring the real you into the classroom.