Some students believe that if a professor doesn’t care about what he or she is teaching, they as students shouldn’t care much about what they are supposed to be learning. Can you really blame them?
And while you really might not care at all about what you’re teaching (though it would indeed be sad if that were the case), you should care whether or not your students care. Because when students don’t care, they don’t try as hard – or at all – to do well in your course, are more likely to cheat, and in the end, learn very little. All things you should not want for your students!
How can you show that you care? And we don’t mean the ushy-mushy caring. We mean the type of caring that shows you love (or at least, like) what you teach and that you want your students to learn something and succeed in your class. It’s amazing what a little caring can do!
So you want to show that you care but how do you do it?! Here are some ways to get you started.
1. Stress the fact that you want your students to actually learn something. Let it be known that you’re not there just trying to get to get positive feedback and high marks on your end-of-semester evaluations. You’re there to TEACH and to help your pupils LEARN! If nothing else, at least your students will know that you care and want to be there.
2. Hold your ground when it comes to cheating. Regardless of your school’s academic honesty policy, take cheating in your classroom seriously. Cheating doesn’t do any good for anyone, and when you turn a blind eye to it, it further goes to show that you really don’t care if your student learn.
3. Make time to help your students. Do you remember that one professor way back when that never seemed to have the time of day for you? Don’t be like him (or her). Spend a little time outside lecture to be a resource for your students, to answer their questions or help guide them in the right direction. If you know a student is starting to slip up, go the extra mile and pull the student aside and see what’s up. Ask what the student needs to regain his or her footing.
4. Give good feedback. Do you remember that other time, way back when, when you got a paper back with a big fat “C+” written at the top and no other explanation as to WHY you received that grade? How frustrating!! Then, when you marched up to your professor and asked for explanation, the only response you received was “It wasn’t quite sufficient”. How was that supposed to help you improve the next time around? By providing feedback of substance to your students, not only will you prove that you actually took time to look at the assignment and put some thought into your grading, you’ll actually help your students as they work on following assignments.
5. Consider your students’ schedules. While YOU may think your course should take precedence over all the other classes your students are taking, they don’t exactly see it that way. Most of them want to get decent or good grades in all of their courses and will, believe it or not, have to spend some time on them. So, even if you want to assign a lot of reading or homework, don’t purposefully overload your already overloaded students. They will love you for it.