A little enthusiasm in the classroom can go a long way.
Most people who have attended an institution of higher education have encountered a professor they would not recommend to their friends, or, in some special cases, to their worst enemies.
It’s easy to tell when a professor has “checked out” of teaching.
Unlike in high school, college students generally have made the decision to pay for and show up to class.
If students are willing to sacrifice time and money to pursue an education, then faculty should honor that dedication by making it worth their time.
But what makes a good teacher?
Students react to enthusiasm. It is obvious by an instructor’s demeanor in the classroom if they are passionate about a subject.
Good teachers actively engage with their students and strive to present their material in a way that is clear, informative and current.
If teachers aren’t interested in what they’re lecturing about, they should not be surprised when students start snoring.
But engagement is not limited to the classroom.
Faculty members should clearly outline how to contact them outside of class time in the syllabus, including office hours, phone number and email address.
Even better would be specific times they will read and respond to emails.
Lack of communication is both frustrating and stressful to students.
Faculty needs to make clear how and when they can be contacted, and then respond promptly when students do reach out.
Finally, faculty members need to respect that the syllabus is a contract between them and students, and that contract goes both ways.
Syllabuses should be clear, complete, up-to-date and presented to the students at the beginning of the semester.
The syllabus is the student’s guide for the expectations and schedule they have committed to by taking a class.
Faculty members need to commit to that contract, and they need to make adjustments only sparingly, if at all, during the semester.
Syllabuses for all courses can be found at alamo.edu/sac/syllabus/.