Authentic Teaching Self

This may not be a full list of what I value as a teacher, but I want to use this as a starter, and I will add more when new ideas come to my mind.

Pay attention to top students and students who are falling behind. 

I am not saying the students in the middle should be neglected, but more attention should be paid to students on the extremes than they normally received. Accessibility should be provided to every students.

I was a straight-A student from the first day schooling, and benefiting from that, I was appraised by teachers and got positive emotions towards learning. But I did not feel that I got what I want from the teachers. My Inorganic Chemistry professor told me if I want to learn the advanced knowledge that most students cannot understand, I need to learn by myself. She was not going to cover that in class. I wish she can briefly introduce the knowledge beyond the syllabus, and offer the willingness to discuss it in her office hours rather than telling me that it will not be tested therefore you do not need to learn it. We have to admit that some students, overall they may fit in the class, but on some aspects, they are way better than others. Teachers are there to inspire their talent, rather than let the gifts diminish.

The other experience is from an African student of mine last semester and she fell behind in writing lab report. English is her second language, but she is working hard. As teacher, we can tell her to seek assistant from the writing center, or we can be more patient on advising and help her build self-confidence. She was excellent and very lucky to receive the scholarship and study in the US. We as educators should provide the biggest possibility for her to succeed. Her success will not only be her personal accomplishment, but will also benefit her family, her children, and her country.

I would like to recommend an ancient official textbook that I am reading now, called Great Learning. This book is a precious legacy from our ancestors, and concisely talks about the wise principles in education. The classical Chinese are so beautiful that its soul will be damaged from any translation.



5 thoughts on “Authentic Teaching Self”

  1. Thanks for sharing!

    I think is interesting you approach to not only focus on the students falling behind, but also the students that are in the top of the class since they probably have different needs.

    What things can we do in order to provide for them as well?

    Also, can you elaborate a little on the Great Learning book? What is it about?



  2. Hi Dr. Nelson,
    Thank you for your interest in the book. The translation in your link is great, but I would recommend to search for the translation by Hongming Gu, who is a renowned scholar of Confucius and interpreter of China.

  3. Before reading your blog, I was recommended and also planned to target mainly on the median student in teaching. It is interesting to see that you sharing a totally different teach strategy. Paying attention to these two tail students echoes to the idea in your previous blog “No one less”. I really appreciate you doing that, which give me a second thought in my own teaching strategy.

  4. I really like your article and the new idea that you proposed. I never thought that straight-A students need more care from the teacher. I even thought that they need less care since they’re better than the others. But what you said definitely makes sense and teachers need to take it into consideration.

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