I would say that teaching – especially in college – is one of the most rewarding experiences and professions anyone can have. I am not necessarily talking about
I personally view teaching like coaching, and I feel I had a chance to be mentored by two of my role models in life: Mom and Dad. Dad was my coach when I was a thrower and really taught me how to work hard, be dedicated, and taught me how to train and be the best I could be in track and field. It has also been great to brainstorm ideas and talk about marketing and PR (Dad worked for companies in Marketing like Nestle and Mars to name a few – yes, all foodie companies!) His work ethic and positive coaching really has influenced me both on and off of the throwing field.
Mom has been a great mentor for me in academics and being one of the main mentors I have had in academics and research. Her guidance, dedication and work ethic with research and teaching is inspirational – I learned a lot also through the process about writing and being confident in the classroom and talking about research. I would not be the person I am today without both of these wonderful people. Shout out to Mom and Dad!!
Anyway, back to teaching – I view my role as a professor is to provide students not only with the opportunity to learn about the field I am in, but grow from the experience. Enhancing their skills, mentor them, and engage them on their own turf essentially (ex. social media) where you can guide them to opportunities to enhance and empower their skills in the field.
How do you translate coaching to become an effective teacher? Here are some steps I found to be useful in my experience teaching:
- Share resources: Whether it is about blogging to writing about certain topics, you can be viewed as a person where students can go to to ask questions about where to start finding resources on a particular topic, especially if it is a specialization within the field.
- Connecting students for networking opportunities: This is HUGE. You need to be active in the professional field so you can connect students with leaders in the field. Engage and reach out to them via Twitter and share their blog posts with the class. Invite them via Skype or in person to come to class.
- Lead by example: If you want students to do the work, you want to show them that you are doing it along with them. I have done this with my social media class – I am blogging, researching and coming up with ideas for social media campaigns, and networking along with them. Showing them it can be done is good for them to see – you don’t want to feel like they are doing just “busy work.” Dad worked out with me when I was competing in track and Mom is writing research articles and teaching along with me.
- Becoming a leader AND participant in the classroom: Yes, you are a professor and are responsible for the material presented. However, you want to be approachable and receptive from learning from the class as well. I’m excited when I get to learn about a new app or tool my students found and want to share with the class. I think that’s fabulous! With this mindset, it creates a dynamic and energetic learning environment for everyone.
- The art of positive teaching: Consider feedback to be constructive of course – this is still the same – but when students have exciting news – let them know you are proud of them! My Dad wrote a great article back in 2000 about the art of positive coaching, and I think this has so many good messages and points here that it can definitely be translated into teaching as well. I have seen so many cases where students have reached out to me and said they have gotten a job, internship, and wonderful opportunity where they have shared it with me on Twitter or other social media sites. I have developed the hashtag #proudprof for that reason and this is what I share on Twitter and Instagram. Taking the time to give a shout out (or S/o) to a student makes a world of a difference. Like positive coaching, positive teaching is also very effective.
In essence, I feel very honored and privilege to be part of a great profession that is so rewarding. It is exciting and inspiring for me to see the future professionals grow, learn, and see that light bulb go off when it all connects with them. Great classes are made up of great students, and I have been very fortunate to have some amazing students in my classes both this semester and previous semesters.
Hope you all are having a great day!