While trying to think about how I want to teach I happened to be on a Doctor Who kick. Doctor who is about a humanoid alien (Time Lord to be specific) with two hearts, a blue space ship called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) that is bigger on the inside. A biological function of the Time Lords allows them to change their cellular structure and appearance for the purpose of recovery following a potentially fatal injury (hence the multiple faces in the gifs below). The Doctor travels through space and time fighting monsters, saving the world, and making friends through out the galaxies. I realized that Doctor Who sends many great messages. There are a great number of things from Doctor Who that I would like to apply to my every day life as well as to my teaching voice. Here are the top 6, Allons-y!
- Show compassion
One of the main themes in Doctor Who is compassion. The Doctor is constantly revealing his heart (both of them) and chooses to show compassion to strangers, friends, and enemies. The rule of compassion seems to be one that the Doctor can’t break. Remember that you were once in the same position as your students, show them compassion like you have two hearts.
- Show humility
At times the Doctor can be arrogant, but he’s at his best when he is modest. That being said, you aren’t a Time Lord from Gallifrey and you certainly don’t have a TARDIS. Remember to leave your ego in your office (or better yet, at home) when you’re teaching a class.
- Demonstrate morality
The Doctor always offers those wrong who him a choice. He is one for fairness and justice, but also has a strong sense of right and wrong. Sometimes students will cheat on assignments, slack off, or just have a really rough day. Be compassionate (point 1), but remember to stick to your morals.
- Be weird
Being weird is cool. Bow ties, fezzes, and Stetsons – are not cool by themselves. Being your quirky self, however, is very cool. Society is good at teaching individuals to mind their place, to keep in line and to conform. Yet I cannot think of a single person who I admire, or who has accomplished anything extraordinary, who was not weird in some major way. Seriously though, be yourself when you’re teaching and don’t try and be anything else, and remember; there’s no point in being grown up if you can’t act childish every once in a while.
- Be clever
I learned there is no problem in the entire universe that cannot be solved by being clever. There is always a better way to go about something, provided you have the time and resources available to achieve it.
The War, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors were brought to the last day of the Time War during The Day of the Doctor, an occurrence that should’ve been impossible owing to the fact that the events of the war were time locked.
Using all his previous incarnations to work out the required calculations, the Eleventh Doctor was able to secure Gallifrey’s future within a pocket universe. He found a different and “better” way to do things and, the Doctor now has the knowledge that his people are still alive and out there somewhere, just waiting to be found and brought back without reigniting the Time War.
Be clever in the classroom. Its a space for being creative, problems will randomly present themselves. What if your projector stops working and so on. Be an active problem solver, don’t just sit on your heels and wait for things to happen around you.
- Be willing to help and accept help
The Doctor is a hero, he’s strong, he’s smart and he is obviously someone that the audience look up to. The Doctor is always keen to give help to whoever needs it. The role of the companion is actually to help the Doctor whether by being a friend and being there for him or actually helping him in his plots. Even the Doctor calls on his friends for help when he is in a difficult situation. One particular example is the episode “A Good Man Goes to War” where the Doctor has to call on all of his friends for help.
Be willing to ask for help when you need it. Your lectures aren’t going to so well? Ask the people suffering through them for advice. Answer all the questions whenever you get them. Don’t be a jerk, you are here to help (in case you forgot, please see point 2).