In the Guest Column from Tuesday’s Collegian newspaper was an article titled “While learning, keep teachers in mind”. The article is written by Anne Merline, an instructor for the University Honors Program here at Colorado State University. First of all the very topic of this article surprised me. As yet another busy, overworked, saddened by high levels of credits, scholastic athlete* (*hope you sense my sarcasm here) I try to find easy resources for our weekly educational article findings by looking in the Collegian every day. So far I have had no luck, with the exception of the lovely Tuesday afternoon I just experienced. But I digress… Anne begins the article by saying that she prefers to use the word “teacher” versus “Professor” because she values that students of higher education hear the words that their “teachers” tell them and then come to their own conclusions. She also refers to the earth as a “big blue marble” which I love. But something interesting she includes is that on the first day of class after she introduces the syllabus and the goals for the semester, she tells her students that she is only human. Anne proclaims that she has her own biases and experiences and that she is not afraid to express them in her classroom. In addition she respects the opposing opinion of others, since after all, we aren’t human droids who all have the same points of views. But I don’t need to enlighten you with that. I just need to fill some ~400 words in this blog. And I digress again… Anyway, I think it what Anne has to say so far is a bit shocking. Some professors I have stick their noses so high in the air that they would spit on Anne for admitting that teachers are “human” (gasp!). I like her approach so far. She tells us that all teachers and professors are humans before they become teachers and professors. Most of the educators I have had drop the human façade and put on the know-it-all mask. If I was in Anne’s class I would know that, yes, she is the leader of this particular class; but, no, she doesn’t expect me to act as an “empty vessel” or I should not hold her to a standard of perfection either. But Anne had more to say. Teachers will have an easier time in the classroom if they establish a rapport as the “human at the whiteboard”. My question is this: assuming we are going into junior/high school classrooms, should we too put on “I’m-just-your-buddy” cape? Or do we need to assert more authority since we aren’t working with college students who can more accustom themselves to recognizing that they can’t take advantage of this person at the whiteboard?
I do not have any links to this article, but you can give Anne feedback on her article here.