What Scares College Instructors Most?

Learn what instructors say scares them the most.

What Scares You About Teaching College Courses?

I want to address what instructors fear. What about teaching scares you, maybe just a little or maybe a lot? Leave me a comment. I will publish the good ones, and I will respond regardless whether your comment makes this website or not. Rest assured, I will do my best to be of assistance.

If, on the other hand you are an experienced instructor who fears nothing, let me know how you got to that point.  You must have lessons learned to share with others.  So, please share you advice.

And finally, maybe you are a new college instructor, someone who is just embarking on their first teaching assignment, and you are not scared. What you are is (sorry, this is a term I apply to that small percentage of our students who cause their own problems) CLUELESS.  Either stop reading my articles because you are a lost cause, or open up.  If you do not want your comment published, I will respect that.

© 2011 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

August 19, 2011



About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC). My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students. After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.


What Scares College Instructors Most? — 1 Comment

  1. Wow, John. Where to start? By the way, I would be willing to talk to you over the phone. I can tell that you take teaching seriously, but also that you are struggling to deal with under-achieving students. I wonder if you might be afraid of laying an academic egg or that you may be afraid of giving poor grades to students. If this is truly a capstone course, then you should have started off the class by telling your students what that means and what your expectations are. Actually, that is something instructors should do for all courses. As a capstone, keep this in mind. If you go easy on students and pass those who do not participate, what are the ramifications? Have you violated your grading policy? Will a future employer question the standards of your college and of you as an instructor? If you did not clarify your expectations at the beginning, in fairness to your students, you should tread lightly. There are techniques that can bring even unprepared students into the conversation. I would be glad to share some with you.

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