This article is a work in progress. I will be adding to it and updating it on the fly. However, there many other articles on this website to address this topic. Click on Characteristics of Good College Instructorsunder Topics on the left, and you will find them.
In this series of articles I am going to help you, a college instructor, improve you teaching by getting to know yourself better. You will better understand your own personality and how your traits impact your job as a college teacher.
How does a college instructor develop and maintain rapport with students? This has challenged even the most experienced instructors.
Compassion, Courage, Candor and Contemplation are four of the most important characteristics of great college instructors. Learn why.
Why Students Should Like You
October 14, 2010, four people found this website with the search phrase “getting students to like you.” I posted a question to a LinkedIn group to which I belong. I asked those in the group if they thought is was important for students to like their instructors.
When it comes to applying Habit #1 - Be Proative - adjuncts and new full-time faculty are at a distinct disadvantage. Through no fault of their own, they may not understand the scope of their power and authority.
To be truly effective as a teacher you must begin with the end in mind - the learning outcomes or learning objectives for your course. … The purpose of an instructor is to help students achieve the learning outcomes of the course. The metaphorical image of an instructor at sea in a boat without a rudder is applicable to those who are not driven by this purpose.
Put First Things First
Stephen Covey’s 3rd Habit of Highly Effective People is to “Put First Things First.” Covey sets the framework for this practice by introducing the Time Management Matrix on page 151 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I bet you have seen one version or another of this in the past. It provides an interesting lens through which to view our lives. To use a common idiom, this can be an “eye opening” lens. Covey contrasts the important activities in our lives with the unimportant. Then he categorizes them as urgent or not urgent. Crises and major problems are important and urgent, while planning and relationship building are important though not urgent. You get the point.
There will be students who do not pass, but the Win/Win instructor never lets a Win/Win student fail.
Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People addresses an important aspect of interpersonal communication. Covey begins with a claim that really applies to me. He says, “We have such a tendency to rush in, to fix things up with good advice. But we often fail to take the time to diagnose, to really, deeply understand the problem first,” (p. 237). As with Covey’s other habits, this one has some unique applications for college faculty members. I will begin with one of the most important things college instructors need to understand about understanding. Covey doesn’t cover this.