When the Teacher Becomes the Student
A relationship expert once said that during an argument, there's usually three sides to every story: his side, her side, and of course, the truth.
This is something we must definitely keep in mind as teachers. As educators (especially professors), we have been accused of having the biggest egos on this side of Mount Rushmore. One of the quickest ways to burn out in education is to refuse to embrace change. Whether we want to admit it or not, life moves and changes constantly.
Students are constantly exposed to material we once never dreamed existed. Ironically, although students are exposed to more, they typically know less and are less mature than the generations before. However, that does not discredit the fact that students still bring a unique perspective to our classroom; it's through their eyes that we can become better teachers.
One of my best strategies for maintaining a high level of motivation in the classroom came as a result of a technique I learned as a stockbroker and sales trainer. Rule #1 in sales is that in order to bring the customer to where you are (your level of understanding), you must first go to where they are (they're current level of understanding). In simple terms, you must know your customer (in this case, your student). This simple principle recharges and rejuvenates my batteries every semester; because the more I know, the more I grow.
Relating this concept to the education arena, you must simply and clearly define your objectives and what you would like to see happen over the course of a semester (or even a brief interaction) with a student, and then you help your students to do the same. In other words, know where YOU want to go, help them find out where THEY want to go, and then come up with a strategy for both of you to get there. In negotiating terms, they call this a win-win solution. Obviously, this strategy can only work if you value the student, and you believe he or she can make you a better teacher.
For instance, during my first three years in education, I quickly realized that what I wanted and what students believe they needed were diametrically opposed to each other. However, after many personal talks with former students, I soon discovered that students weren't as concerned with the subject matter itself as they were with how the subject matter was being taught. They were more concerned with my attitude than the answers I would give them. This was a revelation.
I came to the conclusion that, like a parent, my experience and education dictated that I was qualified to teach them what they needed to know to succeed. However, when it came to how they received the information, I was totally at their mercy. Because, regardless of how good or important the subject matter is, if no one is listening, then no one is learning. It was at that point that I decided to "go to where they were" in order to bring them to where I was.
I met individually and collectively with students to get their perspectives on the class. I asked them about what worked in class and what didn't? I asked them about what they would like to see more or less of? What would they like to see changed (about myself and/or the class)? I asked them if whether or not they would recommend this class to another student, why or why not? I asked them what would make the class more productive and more interesting? These questions can be asked in almost any work environment, for almost any department, not just in the classroom. I asked similar questions of my clients when I was in Corporate America.
All of the input I received, except for the individual meetings, were done anonymously. I can't begin to tell you how important this information has been to my career. But in less than a year after implementing this idea, I was nominated twice for the distinguished teaching award at my school (the youngest ever nominated).
If you want to become a more productive educator in or outside of the classroom, the key is student input - you must seek it. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, but expecting different results. If you listen to and solicit feedback from your students, you won't have to repeat the mistakes of the past. So value your students and their input; trust me, they hold the keys to your success.
Dr. Joe Martin is an award-winning speaker, author, professor, and educational consultant and owner of New Teacher Success. Visit http://www.newteachersuccess.com today!
Cleaning Houses for a Living Has Some Unexpected Benefits
If you're looking for a way to earn a living or just to make some extra money on the side, cleaning houses for a living is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.Cleaning houses? Doesn't that sound like a lot of unpleasant, grungy work?Yes, it does sound pretty unpleasant, and that is exactly why there is very good profit in it.
How To Type A Resume For Employers
Learning how to type a resume may feel like a daunting task. Even the most affluent writers have asked themselves, how to type a mind-blowing resume.
So You Want To Be a Nurse When You Grow Up?
You're interested in becoming a nurse. How do you get into the field? First of all, you need to assess your basic interest.
American Idol Syndrome
I like Simon, one of three judges on American Idol. I find his feedback refreshingly honest.
Have Enough Money to Change Careers - Five Key Steps
At every talk I give, I ask the audience to tell me the reasons why people don't change careers. The most common answer given each time is "lack of money.
5 Tips for Customizing your Resume
Gone are the days of the bland, generic one-page resume. Employers these days are more impressed by a resume that is customized and they tend to give jobs to interviewees that have a bit of knowledge about the company.
Bringing Our Family to Work
Let's face it, most of us consider professional success and personal success the same.In other words we become our careers.
Should I leave My Job?
Most of us have to work for a living. Since we spend so many hours each week at our jobs, it's very important that there is a good fit.
Turning the Table: Questions for Your Interviewer
(DES MOINES, Iowa - January 26, 2005) The fateful final question of all interviewers may carry more weight than you would think. Upon hearing "Now, do you have any questions," you are given a chance to show the quality of your character and interest in the company.
Resume Posting: Tips for Jobseekers
Recruiting firms, like most businesses today, must embrace technology in order to prosper. Part of modern recruiting is understanding the value and benefit of internet job boards.
Interview Tips - Ten Top Dos & Donts for Winning Interviews
In this day and age it can become increasingly difficult to even get your foot in the door and get an interview; once you've accomplished that you will want to make sure you continue to put your best foot forward and nail the interview as well. Unfortunately, as great as their skills, experience and education are; the interview is where many people lose a job opportunity to their competition.
Six of the Best for a Winning Resume
1. Be CompleteMake sure that your resume includes EVERYTHING your prospective employer would need to know to be able to offer you an interview.
Is Job Loss Making You Sick?
Job loss affects most of us like any
other loss in life. Yes, there are other
losses that are greater, but this one
comes close too!From my experience, job loss can
make anyone sick! There can be
terrible anger; anger which turns
Managing Emotions During Career Change and Job Search, Part Two
Half the battle in successfully managing your emotions during a job search or career change process is in recognizing and naming what you're feeling. Most of us could barely brainstorm a dozen or so emotions, yet many, many more exist.
How To Conduct A Successful Job Search Campaign
1.Define your objective: Know what kind of work you most enjoy and perform the best.
Getting Past Fear
Have you gotten tons of career advice, solicited and unsolicited? You nod when you hear it and think, "Yeah, I know this stuff." So, what else is new?But what have you done with the advice? Fess up.
Your Value Proposition: A Critical Component To Having A Successful Job Search
Your value proposition is a series of statements defining your worth. It is the value you bring to the table - the skills, strengths, core competencies, marketable assets and accomplishments you can declare as your own.
Dont Quit Your Day Job! Convincing Your Boss To Let You Telecommute (Part 2 of 2)
Ok, so you've determined that you have the right skills and qualities to
do your job effectively from home. You're sure that your job is well
suited to telecommuting.
Finding a Job Under Tough Circumstances
Anyone can find a job. That's right, I said "anyone".
Finding Employees For Insurance Industry Jobs
Finding the right employee for any job opening can be a challenge to say the least, and this is no truer than in the insurance industry. With considerations ranging from experience and education to their personal skills, the decisions faced by recruiters and employers can be of critical importance.