"Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means." – Albert Einstein
There are many names give to the role of an educator, from a teacher to facilitator, faculty member, and instructor. Whether you are employed in part time or full-time capacity, in a traditional or online classroom, you are still teaching and directly involved in the developmental progress of your students. Everything you say to your students, along with every action you take, has a direct impact on your students. This is why follow-up and follow through are extremely important, along with an ability to listen with the express purpose of seeking to understand what your students are stating.
When a class starts you are highly aware of your students. Then classroom management duties begin to take more of your time. As the class progresses, you may take into consideration the perspective of your students; along with what motivates them, how they persist when faced with challenges, and what it is like for them to interact with the classroom environment. But have you ever considered how your students view you as an educator? Does it matter to you or influence how you teach when you are planning your class? Will you take their perspective into consideration when you are planning future professional development?
Most educators choose this type of work or career, even when the pay or working conditions are less than ideal. What if you decide to function from this point forward in a manner that is transformative for your students, so they are somehow better for having been enrolled in your classes? In other words, what if you could teach in a way that will have a long-term impact on your students? If you do influence them in this manner now or decide that you want to change how you teach, they will likely look up to you. This means they will remember you and your class, and more importantly, they will be transformed in some way, whether academically, professionally, or personally.
What Does it Mean to Be a Transformative Educator?
As an educator, consider this question: is performing in a transformative manner a matter of making consciousness choices in how you act while you are teaching, or is it a result of every interaction you have with your students? Not every student is going to have a positive experience while they interact with you, despite the best of intentions you may have set, yet when students know their instructors care they are more willing to put in the time and make an effort to try when it comes to being involved in the learning process. That extra effort on their part is sometimes all a student needs to get past potential barriers or hurdles.
My experience as an educator has taught me I always know where I stand with my students by the way they are responding to me, whether in class or through some form of communication such …