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After I graduated high school I went to a vocational college. I was working toward
my Associate’s in Paralegal. I would have to say that my example of both poor
teacher behavior and excellent teacher behavior came from the same professor. I
would typically go to class in the morning, then to my afternoon job, and then to my
night job. I was admittedly late to his class or dozed off in class quite often.
However, when called on to ask a question or for activities I did participate. I
completed all my assignments. One day I had forgotten my homework at home. He
got really angry with me and yelled at me in front of the class, and said that I
probably hadn’t even done it. It turned out a lot of the class also hadn’t done it or
brought it, so he designated some class time for people to finish it. I was so
frustrated at this point I walked out of class that day. The following week he pulled
me aside to apologize. He also stated that he had heard from someone that I
worked two jobs and often until late, and I confirmed. He said he understood now
why I was often late and/or tired. He told me that my work was often top of the
class, and that from now on as long as I checked in with him during the same day as
we had class and turned my work in, he would count me as attending.
I did not have the words for how this affected my life in so many ways. I still tried my
best to get to class and on time, but some days I just couldn’t wake up. I would
check in with him during his office hours, turn in my work, and we would chat for a
bit. This was during a time in my life where I did not, and had not had many positive
adult role models in my life. He showed me more grace than anyone had in a very
long time. It motivated me to work even harder in his class, and I was fortunate to
have him for a couple other classes later on. This changed my perspective on
continuing college education in a lot of ways, too. I had people that wanted to
understand me and see me succeed, and recognized my strengths but also helped
me work on my weaknesses. He ended up being not only my teacher, but a mentor
and unforgettable role model in my life.
This professor was an amazing example of the first principle in effective teaching.
The first principle is “Encourage Student-Faculty Contact” (Bernstein et al., 2020).
This principle describes that frequent and meaningful contact with students can
help their school engagement both academically and emotionally (Bernstein, 2020).
When students know that their teachers care, they are more likely to be persistent in
their work, even when it is difficult (Bernstein, 2020). This connection increases the
chances that students will perform well and stay in and continue school (Bernstein,
2020). The principle that could have been improved on was “Communicate High
Expectations” (Bernstein, 2020). Yes, I needed to show responsibility by coming to
class on time, awake and prepared. I also needed to have my work completed and
brought to school each time. However, yelling at one student in front of class and
then yelling at the whole class was not the way to bring the class back to performing
well and maintaining high standards. The expectations were communicated, but not
in a way that was perceived well by most. However, he addressed the behavior in the
next class, apologized, and repaired the relationship with his students.
Have you ever had an experience where a teacher became a pivotal mentor for you
as well? f
Bernstein, D. A., Frantz, S., & Chew, S. (2020). Teaching psychology: A step by step
guide (Third edition.). Routledge.
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