The Ideal Professor

Maryellen Weimer, the keynote speaker at last year’s South Alabama Conference on Teaching and Learning, had another great blog post this week where she compares the Ideal Professor with the Typical Professor.  She cites a research study where junior and senior students rate the qualities of their concept of the ideal professor and the qualities present in their more typical professors.

The findings are somewhat surprising in that the differences aren’t very pronounced.  The typical professors tend to do the same things as the ideal professors; it’s just that the ideal ones do certain things more often–most notably things like making informal connections with students and allowing students some agency in the classroom.

What this tells me is that most of us aren’t that far away from being much better teachers, and a big step in that direction is to let go of some of our more “teacherly” hangups.  That is, to worry less about being the authoritative expert in the class and simply to try to be more genuinely human while allowing your students to be so as well.

To read Dr. Weimer’s post, click here.


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