Being a strong professor is not difficult when one is concerned with what happens in the classroom, and takes steps to ensure student needs are met. After having taught for 20 years, I have found five attributes especially helpful.
Accessibility to Students
On my first day of class, I point out my business and cell phone numbers as well as email addresses that I previously typed on the syllabus. I also inform students that I arrive three hours early and can be found in the classroom or in the computer lab if others are utilizing the classroom. I have met students at a nearby coffee shop if they need immediate help.
Understanding of Students
Most of my teaching work has been done with returning students. Many of these students have full-time jobs and families and often feel professors are asking too much. Although I have compassion, I still hold these students to assignment due dates because their ability to meet deadlines is critical in the job setting.
Passionate about Teaching
I love my field, writing and literature. While in the classroom, I rarely sit but walk around students, ensuring they understand the discussed topic. I love sharing the knowledge I gained while earning my degrees and what I also gained after graduation. Students have commented how my behavior livens up the classroom. Through it all, I have remained committed to helping students improve their writing skills.
Find Student Strengths and Weaknesses
Strong students help lead classroom assignments and group work because they can address issues and answer questions that might have been overlooked. Plus, strong students speak the language in a way other students can relate to. Hence, there are few if any questions at the end of class. Key terms, ideas, and assignment due dates should always be written on the white board. Doing this helps students remember what was discussed in class and also helps those students who couldn’t hear because of side conversations that took place during class time.
Study and Research in the Field
Study and research help professors stay abreast of what is taking place in their fields. Professor Opprenheime claims that professors are sometimes asked questions they cannot immediately answer. Staying current in the field will help with this. Also, according to Opprenheime, showing students how to think in order to find the answers is a positive attribute students can learn.
Oppenheime, M. (2004, May 21). In praise of passionate, opinionated teaching. The Chronicle.