It is not easy teaching college students. There is a world of difference between teaching school students and college students, and there are many factors attributable to such enhanced difficulties. These factors include change of environment, increase independence, lack of constant guidance from parents, peer pressure, and what not.
College students are deemed to be grown-ups, but these people have not completely grown up. Instead, they are in the process of achieving maturity—an area which requires the active participation of teachers. Hence, the role and responsibilities of college teachers are immense and cannot be underestimated.
There are plentiful things which a college teacher can do to ensure that he is able to qualitatively engage with his students. I have talked about 5 things which can help you become a good teacher for your college students. So, read along.
- A Comforting and Friendly Introduction
This tip is important and to be remembered every time you take up a new class. The way you introduce yourself will lay impression on the audience, the students, who will consciously and unconsciously tailor their behaviours towards you accordingly.
We cannot live by the old way of going about teaching: exercising authoritative control and extreme discipline. Control and discipline should be expected but in moderate quantities. Your introduction should reflect exactly that; that you are approachable, non-threatening, friendly, and empathetic. At the same time, you expect some degree of discipline and responsiveness as consideration.
Do not give them a formal speech. Instead, start with a simple “Hi” and introduce very briefly who you are and why you are here. Try to add humour somewhere in between, if possible and only if you know that your humour is genuinely on-point. Do not keep your body too stiff and facial expressions too serious. Relax your eyes, smile a little, gesticulate reasonably, and address students as people, not machines.
- Understand The Marked Differences Among Students
Every class is a community of different types of students. You need to understand that in college it is more likely that students have come from different communities, different religions, different cultures, different cities, and even different countries. In addition, there will be intellectual differences amongst them too.
As a college teacher, your role in identifying learning and background differences among students is as much important as that of a school teacher. While it is not possible to pay attention to each and every student in the class, try coming up with a method of teaching which is neither too tough nor too easy; it should be just right.
Even while setting question papers, include questions which together will create a bell curve in performance.
- Check Answer Sheets Seriously
I have noticed this quite a lot that college teachers tend to be nonchalant in their marking scheme. They would not go through the answer sheets properly and give scores on the basis of inconsequential factors such as the length of the answers, handwriting, and what not. Seriously, this is an insult to those who worked hard in preparing for the exams.
It is highly recommended that you consider answer sheets very seriously because the scores obtained would end up deciding the future of the students. Moreover, students would notice any recalcitrant attitude in evaluation so do not think that you can outsmart them easily.
- Come Prepared Before Every Lecture
You might be an expert on the topic but should seriously consider preparing before every lecture you give.
I knew a professor who had been teaching International trade law for years yet would prepare prior to every lecture. He told me that preparation gives hold on the tongue and mind and you are able to structurally and comprehensively give lectures. Also, preparation helps you to anticipate questions, which can be then addressed properly and confidently.
- You Are Not Perfect
Many times teachers end up in pressure. They start thinking that failure to win appreciation from students means that there is no future. This is not true, because failure means that there is scope for improvement.
Remember that you are only human. You may be a teacher but are learning along with students. Instead of getting offended by your inability to address a query or a student’s more informative response than yours’, you should focus on how to handle these situations constructively.
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