This may sound like a cliche, but I love teaching. There is nothing else I would rather do than be in front of a classroom, teaching a topic that I enjoy trying to alter the way people think and act. Here are some of the core beliefs that I try to stay true to (but sometimes fail to):
- Preparation is key: Paraphrasing Edison, teaching is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. If you are prepared for your class, you are well on your way to being a good teacher.
- Respect your students: I did not care for those teachers that I had, when I was a student, that looked down on their students, either as being less learned than they were or less motivated. I believe that anyone who sits on my classroom is as capable as I am, though perhaps not as experienced, and is passionate about learning.
- Be fair: I don't believe that students dislike or punish tough teachers, but I do believe that they dislike and punish teachers who are unfair, either in the way they test students or in the way they grade them. I know that I will make mistakes, but as long as I keep an open door and correct my mistakes, I think that students will cut me some slack.
- Have empathy: It has been a long time since I was a student in a classroom, but I try to keep my memory fresh by remembering the things I liked and disliked in my classes and trying not to repeat them.
- Teaching is not just in the classroom: Your impact on students does not come just from what what you do in the classroom. It is affected just as much but what you do outside the classroom, in your office hours and in your interactions (online and in person) with your students.
- Have fun: If you look at the joy that young children show when they learn something new, it is obvious that human beings enjoy learning (though our education systems are often designed to stamp out that joy). I want my classes to be meaningful, impactful and profound, but I also want them to be fun. For that to happen, I have to have fun teaching and I will!