The Charisma Conundrum: A Reflection on Teaching Styles
Updated: Aug 2
As an educator, I had always taken great pride in my teaching methods, striving to create engaging lesson plans and spending countless hours finding the best ways to present course material to my students. However, an eye-opening experience during one semester changed my perspective on what it truly means to be considered an exceptional teacher.
It all started when one of my students dropped my class, citing that I was too rigid and strict in my approach. This feedback came as a shock to me, as I had always believed that a structured environment was essential for effective learning. The student opted for another professor's class, who was known for having a laid-back and casual teaching style.
Curious about this professor's methods, my manager asked me to sit in on one of their classes to observe their interactions with students. What I witnessed was surprising - the professor simply socialized with the students throughout the entire class period, discussing their favorite shows, latest music, and personal interests. There seemed to be no structured teaching or focus on course material whatsoever.
Initially, I was disheartened by the realization that charisma seemed to be the determining factor in a professor's popularity. The ease with which this particular professor connected with students and gained their favor appeared to overshadow the importance of genuine teaching efforts. I couldn't help but question if my dedication to planning engaging lessons was being overlooked.
However, as I reflected on the experience, I began to see things from a different perspective. While it was true that some professors might coast by on charisma alone, it was equally vital to recognize the impact of authentic teaching. I realized that my commitment to providing my students with a structured learning experience was commendable and necessary for their academic growth.
This revelation also made me appreciate the importance of striking a balance between charisma and teaching effectiveness. While being engaging and approachable is undoubtedly valuable, it should not come at the expense of the core purpose of education - imparting knowledge and facilitating learning.
Moving forward, I resolved to work on enhancing my own charisma as a teacher while maintaining my dedication to well-prepared lesson plans and effective teaching strategies. I understood that fostering a positive and respectful learning environment, combined with a passion for the subject matter, could create a powerful combination that resonates with students.
Additionally, I learned not to take student evaluations too seriously. While feedback is essential for improvement, it should be considered with a discerning eye. Some students might prefer a casual approach, while others may appreciate a more structured learning environment.
My encounter with the "charismatic professor" taught me a valuable lesson about teaching. It highlighted the need to find a balance between engaging with students on a personal level and delivering high-quality, well-structured lessons. More importantly, it reaffirmed my belief in the value of genuine teaching efforts, reminding me that dedication, preparation, and a passion for education are the qualities that truly make a good teacher.