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Be an effective teacher

Have you ever thought about becoming a teacher? It can be a very rewarding career path. Educating the future generation is a big responsibility after all. Although I never planned to become a teacher, I'm currently a professor at a community college. My goal then is to be an effective teacher. I want to share a few tips that I believe have brought me closer to that goal already.

Put yourself in their shoes - have empathy

This is one of the most important things you need to do to be successful as an educator. Every student has different circumstances and learning capacities. Some will also discover that what you're teaching is not what they're passionate about. Your job as an educator is to encourage them to be successful and to motivate them.

Teaching students how to adapt will help them go a long way in life. Sometimes you need to motivate them just to get them through a tough class. Other times you need to look at the bigger picture. By this I mean showing them that being adaptive is a valuable life skill.

There will be times where neither motivation nor encouragement are enough to help them out, and that's okay. There will always be external circumstances beyond your control. What you have to do in this case is what's best for the student.

Their success is your success

Even if you're not interested in business, schools are still businesses. You need students attending your classes, and you need them to be successful. In education many forms of funding are dependent upon enrollment, pass, and retention rates. Having a customer service oriented mindset is the best way to meet these goals.

It's also your job to be fair. Sending a student out into the workforce unprepared will have negative consequences. That will reflect poorly on you and the institution. Clearly explain what you expect from students at the beginning of each class. They will then understand what is required to be successful in your classes.

Focus on the things you wish you were taught

There are many things I wish I would have been taught early on. For example no one taught me about design patterns in programming, even in college. These are a very important part of programming. They have the ability to increase your productivity as a programmer tenfold.

I design my classes around the things I know now that I wish I would have known when I first started. These are things I had to use every day in the business world. Education is generally great at teaching you about the basics of your field. However it doesn't always prepare you to be a productive employee in the workforce.

What you learn then when you join the workforce is ways to meet your deadlines and be productive. You learn to filter out things that are a waste of time and energy, and work on things that are valuable to the business. Valuable means generating revenue in this case.

Now it's time to put these tips into practice

Whether you're an educator, manager, or employee, these tips can apply to you. Empathy, shared success, and filling in knowledge gaps for others are skills all of us need to have.


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