Monday, September 15, 2014

Day 15: Three Strengths

Day 15 of the Reflective Teaching Blogging Challenge: Name three strengths you have as an educator

My husband, who used to conduct interviews as part of his job, says that in an interview situation, whenever you ask someone what their greatest strength is, it's really their biggest weakness. So, take the below with a grain of salt :-)

Strengths (I think)

1) I really love teaching. I think that when you love something, it comes across to everyone around you. Joy, curiosity, and engagement with what is happening is infectious. I'm sure the teachers I liked and learned from most loved teaching, and I hope my students can sense that I really do like my job. 

2) I'm (almost always) quick to respond to questions. If a student has a question via email, they get an answer back, usually within a few hours if not less. Although I don't think we should all be slaves to our email or work past reasonable hours, I strive to answer students' questions as fast as I can. If they made the effort to reach out to me, shouldn't I respect that with a prompt response? 

3) I've been told that I'm "nice." (I hope hope hope this means approachable and down-to-earth but not pushover.) I think I have pretty good people skills and that I interact with folks--especially students--well. I really strive to create a comfortable learning environment, and I think that starts with an instructor who is fair-minded and approachable.  

*The flip side of this is that a conflict-avoidant personality like me will have a hard time broaching an issue that could result in discord or mixed emotions. I'm thinking of situations in which we might have a student that consistently misses work, seems confused about what is due when (when other students seem to be on track). I always answer that student's questions cheerfully, but I don't often take the extra step and say, "Hey ____. I'm noticing a pattern here. Despite the fact that I remember telling you more than once that X is due on this day, you always seem surprised when I ask for that assignment. What's up?" 

More things to work on!

1 comment:

Henry Aronson said...

So, it's true that what we say are our strengths are often our weaknesses? I can definitely testify that what I wrote as strengths are definitely areas I want to grow, nurture, sustain. All that. I am going to steal your "stem" for gently confronting students who repeatedly make the same error. So gentle. But it won't work if I say it with gritted teach, eh? So glad to be on this journey with you.