What exactly made my favorite teacher a favorite teacher?
Learning is both an active and passive process. Active learning is the doing part: acquiring knowledge (like where to place a finger on the fingerboard, how long to hold a quarter note, etc.) and applying this to the desired outcome.
Passive learning involves introspection of the active process so we can identify the most successful modalities in helping us reach our goals. With the conscious use of passive learning, we can move forward more powerfully in our work as students and teachers. I use my summers for this conscious introspection of the learning process, and after 20 years of reflecting on my own teaching, I am now in a unique position to reflect as a student, having just finished my first year of nursing school. One instructor I worked with this year stood out and was my favorite. I have been thinking about what made him a favorite teacher for me and concluded the following 3 things listed below.
1. EXPERIENCE IN BOTH THEORY & PRACTICE -
My favorite instructor has been teaching for over 20 years and has decades of professional nursing experience. This combination of a background in theory and practice gives him a deep understanding of the academic subject matter and its relevant application for students. He was able to draw from this vast experience to share poignant stories that ranged from heartbreaking to hilarious. This personal touch made lectures highly enjoyable and helped us as students remember key teaching points.
2. ACTIONS THAT SUPPORT SINCERITY -
This favorite teacher of mine demonstrated his sincerity and commitment to helping students with his actions outside of the classroom. He offered more office hours than any other instructor and always responded to emails within 24 hours. These actions helped efficiently fill in knowledge gaps to help us succeed as students. Additionally, while our college has the policy to offer a generic online survey to students at the end of the year, this particular teacher went above and beyond to create his own survey specific to his lectures so he could receive direct feedback in an attempt to refine and advance his work as a teacher.
3. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE WHOLE STUDENT -
This special teacher knew how important it was to address the whole student in the learning process. Nursing school is stressful, but thankfully we had teachers like this who always made an effort to acknowledge the challenge we were undertaking, check in to see how we were coping on a personal level and offer advice when necessary. This helped us feel like we had an ally who was invested in our success.
We would love to hear from you - What made your school year special?
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