At various times during this past summer, I had the opportunity to "teach teachers" (mostly professors) -- in both teaching (pedagogy) and research settings. These were mostly very positive experiences, but whenever I do this type of activity, I am reminded of something important:
When we professors are put in the role of "student", we display most of the characteristics and behaviors that annoy us most in our own students.
It is good for me to be reminded of this from time to time because I think it is important to re-learn that certain annoying "student" behavior is actually just human behavior, and not necessarily a sign of immaturity or a lack of motivation, commitment, or intelligence.
A few examples:
When professors are in the role of students, they don't absorb every single bit of information they are told, no matter how clearly and well that information is presented (according to the professor). [note: I write 'they' here, but I could also write 'we'; this summer, I was mostly in the role of professor to professors this summer, but I don't think I would be all that different if the roles were reversed.]
Even if you are teaching a highly intelligent and motivated class of professor-students, some are going to ask you to repeat things that you think were quite clear the first time you said them; maybe you even wrote these things on the board. Can't they take notes? Aren't they listening?
Some are going to ask stupid questions.
Some are going to be checking their e-mail while you are telling them important information -- and/or some are going to arrive late -- and then they are going to be confused and wonder why you didn't tell them what they need to know.
Some are going to have 'issues' that could have been easily solved had they communicated with you in advance, but that become much more complicated to deal with at the last-minute.
And so on.
But, just as with most classes, the truly high-maintenance students are few in number (even if they suck up a lot of your emotional and other energy), the positive interactions vastly outnumber the annoying incidents, and the business of teaching and learning (about teaching or research) somehow gets done, and fun is had by many, if not most.
8 years ago