Just be yourself . . .

I really enjoyed all the readings from this week, particularly Sarah Deel’s “Finding My Teaching Voice” and Shelli Fowler’s “The Authentic Teaching Self and Communication Skills”. Both discuss the idea that though we are all interested in improving the current system, there is no “one way” to teach. I especially liked the reading by Sarah Deel as it reflects the thought processes through which I would assume a lot of people interested in being good teachers go. And the ultimate conclusions were that the best teachers bring their true selves into their teaching. I think this is an interesting point. I myself sort of fell into teaching. It was never something I thought of myself doing. However, during my residency, I was thrown into teaching some didactic lectures and labs. I had no idea what I was doing but decided the best way to deal with the situation was to be completely honest with my students. I was honest about myself (I too am pretty uncool and not interested in making any great sacrifices to change that) and what I knew and didn’t know. I ended up receiving some great accolades from students and even won a teaching award while there. Though I am learning and continue to learn new ways to improve my teaching style, I think my abilities to be honest are a great foundation. Like Deel, the more “myself” I am with the students, the more comfortable I am with teaching. Both readings discuss the idea that there are some common techniques that one might find useful to adopt, but there is no “perfect” or “ideal” teaching style. They are all a little different and can be equally as beneficial.

7 thoughts on “Just be yourself . . .”

  1. We must have been on the same wavelength! (the title of my post is “Be yourself” and I wrote about something similar). One of the links I posted in my blog is to an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education called “Desperate to Be Liked.” The author laments not being the “hip” professor and comes to terms with being herself. I thought the piece was humorous and thought I’d share the reference to a fellow be-yourself-er. Thanks for the post!

  2. I think that the key to successful teaching is to”know what you know”, be honest about it, and be yourself… I think that you have done a great job in implementing these practices and it’s incredible that it came so naturally to you! Students understand and feel most of of our emotions when we are teaching, and for this reason honesty goes a long way…

  3. Honesty is so important, and it also involves the fact that is OK to say “I don’t know.” I really think that students can recognize when someone is “faking it.” For me, it’s really important to be genuine and show them that you care for them and for their learning.

    Congratulations on your award and thanks for sharing!

  4. I agree. We should know ourselves and try to remove our bias before teaching any course. We should be honest with students and ourselves. We should know our disadvantages and try to improve them. One way for this task, we may ask the students to evaluate our method of teaching during the semester.

  5. I really like what you said about honesty being an important quality in a teacher. I think students can often tell when teachers are not being honest or authentic and it makes it harder to relate to the teacher. I always appreciated honesty in teachers and I’m sure your students do, too!

  6. Thank you I agree with Kate’s comment about honesty. I think that professors are operating in a sort of fishbowl, often with 50 or 100 pairs of eyes constantly looking at their behavior. In this environment dishonesty is not hard to see. Whether a professor is pretending to talk about something he obviously has no experience with or act like someone he or she’s not; I think students intuitively pick up on this and there is a loss of trust. For me part of being honest is admitting if I have said something wrong or made a mistake.

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