The Art of Instruction

“The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of the mind for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.”
― Anatole France

The Art of Teaching

Passion and the ability to inspire others is the cornerstone of the art of instruction. How do you cultivate passion, curiosity, and inspiration? There are three basic human qualities that many teachers have forgotten and truthfully academia as a whole often rebukes: humility, empathy, and love. Great teachers must know the material with brilliant clarity, must challenge their students to consistently improve, and must inspire a dedication to actually care about the material being presented. Forcing students, intimidating students, or controlling students simply…..does not work as effectively as utilizing more positive approaches. Just as research shows us that positive reinforcement consistently changes behavior in animals and people more effectively than punishment; the use of humility, empathy, and love consistently work better in helping students learn than arrogance, a
“my way or the highway” perspective, and control/domination. This does not; however, mean that teachers should be easy or a “push-over.” Students need to be challenged, presented with difficult material, and held accountable for their actions. The best way to encourage people to approach difficult challenges and be accountable for their failures is to approach them with humility, empathy, and love. This way they can approach how to improve without a defensive block and an urge to quit learning or trying.

1) HUMILITY

“I’m not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you.”
― George Bernard Shaw

Many teachers, especially professors in higher education, feel it is their duty to cloak themselves in an air of other-wordly superiority. It is the common belief of many professors that respect is only elicited from students through an air of superiority and that an attitude of arrogance will solidify command in the classroom. This teaching style is pervasive and results in students feeling they are not respected and have little room to actively engage in the process of their education. Typically, this type of teacher creates an environment where students rotely learn material for the purpose of regurgitation on a test without ever finding any relevant meaning or purpose in what they are being asked to learn. Inspiration, curiosity, and passion all require meaning to grow and guide the mind and spirit of the student. Additionally, this lack of humility often translates into students not feeling they can ask questions without the fear of ridicule or embarrassment. Clearly, a humble teacher invites students to ask questions because they too delight in the adventure of finding an answer.

2) EMPATHY

“Teaching is the highest form of understanding.”
― 
-Aristotle

Great teachers must not only understand the material but must also understand the students, and….themselves. The ability to empathize with what another is struggling with is the window into how to help them to cease struggling. Often students have every capability of comprehending the material but are prevented from performing to their fullest potential from frustration, anxiety, self-doubt, or previous failures. The ability to see why a student does not understand the material comes from the ability to know how you yourself has struggled. One who has never taken the time to understand him/her self will not have the insight to understand others. Empathy derives from humility; once one has realized advanced degrees, high IQ, and lofty positions and titles make one no better than anyone else one has the ability to see others clearly. Seeing others clearly, truly understanding them, allows the teaching to come from the heart and can dissolve even the most stubborn of learning difficulties.

3) LOVE

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”
— Carl Jung

Carl Jung, says it all. Love is what really allows learning to occur, facilitates the memory of what was learned, and fosters the desire to continue the learning by sharing it with someone else. Education is a holistic experience; the heart and soul must be engaged along with the mind in order for true learning to occur. There is a sense of magic and wonder that is almost palpable when we experience someone truly caring about us. This is the ideal classroom environment. A teacher who is humble, has learned to understand themselves and empathize with the world, naturally expresses love.

The art of instruction is the art of awakening to something larger than ourselves.

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74 Comments

  1. Daren Waters says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ! I can easily see all of these qualities every time there is class. Recalling all the way back to my freshman year of college, i do not remember many professors showing these distinct qualities. Its encouraging to have a professor or teacher go the distance with you throughout the class. If teachers model these behaviors outlined here, I see how all of the students can be successful in the classroom! More students would be able to grasp the material and be confident in their professors. I greatly appreciate the effort that you put into not only me, but all of your students! most definitely one of the best professors i have been under!

  2. Brenda Brunston says:

    Had I read this blog without knowing the author I would have said, “This sounds like my tests and measurements professor.” My experience in Dr. Troyer’s class this past semester was certainly one in which I experienced a professor who was humble, empathetic, and genuinely loving toward her students.
    The environment in the classroom was one in which questions and discussion were encouraged. I always felt comfortable asking questions and never feared being judged for even the simplest of questions. Dr. Troyer also acknowledged when she learned from us, a mark of true humility.
    She often reminded us that she understood our plight as college students and wished to impart to us the importance of being passionate about learning. She took time to ensure we understood the material and assignments. It was clear she wanted us to really learn and at the same time not get overwhelmed, yet she challenged us to take responsibility for our educational experience.
    I always felt Dr. Troyer cared about us, not just as students to be educated, but as people on the journey of meeting our potential.
    I consider myself blessed to have learned from and with Dr. Troyer. Her passion for education is contagious and I will take some much more from the experience than the material I learned.

  3. Cheryl Lucas says:

    “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
    One of the nicest things that I’ve read about myself when being critiqued as an instructor, is that I am passionate about teaching. This is quite ironic in that I hated school when I was a young child. Who would have thought that I would eventually spend most of my waking hours there? In the past, my experiences with teachers for the most part, unfortunately, involved demonstrations of tyrants who behaved harshly and without compassion. It was so bad that my mother often bribed me to go to school throughout the years from first grade until I reached high school.

    Thankfully, student-centered learning is replacing the old regime. The message sent today is that instructors CARE about student learning. Teachers are leaning toward “guide on the side” rather than “sage on the stage” and are preparing plans with more interactive, engaging learning to involve students in their lessons. Teachers who excel as guides typically project a humbleness that respects others regardless of their ages. They respect the individual as a fellow learner, understanding that they too are capable of continued learning regardless of their degrees and wealth of knowledge. The classroom atmosphere changes when teachers approach students with sensitivity toward their progress, or lack of progress, when trying to master content material.

    Maya Angelou stated that “… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The teacher to be remembered is the one who concentrates more on nurturing learning and less on judging performance, although both are important. Students’ emotions affect the way they learn and environments can impact their feelings. When teachers demonstrate empathy for their students, they listen and strive to understand verbal and nonverbal cues, while appreciating the differences in others. An attitude of care in teaching and love for learners emerges when rapport between instructor and student is established. It is truly an art!

  4. De'Miah Greene says:

    Dr. Troyer,

    You demonstate ALL of these qualities when you teach! You truly have a passion for knowledge and I have never met anyone that displays these characteristics such as yourself. You embody the true definition of an educator. You make sure that all lessons are throughly taught and explained and your examples from real life situations are just genius! There are too many of those that are in a teaching profession and feel as though they are just at the job to get a check and not to have an impact on their student’s life. I have never been in a classroom where you can feel the passion and thirst for knowledge, even coming from the students! The interaction you have with us engages us even more, even when we are discussing topics that we may not care for. This by far was the most interesting class that I have been enrolled in since I’ve started my degree here at VSU, and I thank you for this.

  5. Cynthia M. Graves says:

    Dr. Troyer,

    This article was absolutely right on the mark. Truer words have not been spoken I feel. After watching teachers interact with students and having my own experience with interacting with students I have found that students do indeed respond better when taught with humility, empathy, and love. Students do not in my experience have a good track record with teachers when they have the whole “my way or the highway” attitude that you mentioned in the blog. Those teachers truly are not fostering a sense of empowerment for the students in fact they are inhibiting students from gaining that sense of empowerment that they need to succeed. Having an environment that makes the students feel safe and cared for while in school is an important part in helping the students thrive. I have found that if students feel cared for and safe at school they have an easier time learning. I know that I sure do. In this type of environment instead of feeling looked down upon I feel like I can ask questions and state my opinion without getting my head chewed off. In your class I felt like you were giving it your all to provide us with humility, empathy, and love. I never felt like I could not ask questions or share my opinion while in your class. In fact I felt like sometimes I ran out of things to say which is unusual for me to even think about considering I usually tend to not talk in classes. I can only hope that I will be able to provide the same for students as a school counselor. I have been striving to create that type of atmosphere for students in my time as an intern these last two semesters. I really enjoyed reading this blog post and I enjoyed your class.

  6. James Carnegie says:

    The humility aspect really hit a chord within myself, as I have been quite humbled myself this semester by this class. In my final project actually, I write that I have now realized that professors are human just like us, ha! and follow different, but very real limitations, and it is both our teachers job, and our job, to make the education we seek as effecive as possible. I am certainly glad that your class was more humble and humbling than classes I have had beforehand, it has left with a great deal of positivity; I enjoyed always being comfortable asking my questions, and it being okay if I could not always articulate my questions correctly the first attempt, I have had professors in the past nearly mock me for my stuttering that I will sometimes do when I ask a question. And empathy I belive is also quite important becuase you can never properly transfer one idea to another person if you do not udnerstand them. It would be like trying to tell somone who did not speak your language something. Though I’m really on the train with the love aspect of teaching, I really cannot refute it either. Overall, I think these are great ideas, and I will more than likly, reflect on these ideas again before long.

  7. Ashley Manley says:

    I believe that the recipe you developed for the art of instruction is spot on. I think that you also live by your words because everything you described as a great teacher or teaching apect you have shown in the classroom. I am always a better student and more willing to learn when I feel like the teacher does not act so much above me. However, I do realize that the teachers are very qualified and probably knows alot more about the subject than I do, however, I still want to know that I can come to the teacher for help if needed without feeling ashamed of not knowing the information as he/she expects. I also believe that you do a great job of putting yourself in a students perspective. You do the best you can to prepare us for everything and you give us ample time to get things completed. Even if it doesnt look like we will be able to complete something in the amount of time you allocated, you will revise the time because you want us to be able to do the best work possible. I appreciate this in a teacher because it’s not always about time frame but sometimes about the quality of work. I have enjoyed having you as a professor this semester because the love you have for your students and the way you want them to succeed is evident. The way you talked about your past students and the way you treated us as students this semester was definitely an art. I can definitely see that you love what you do and love what you teach. You inspire me to be great in my future career and love every minute of it.

  8. Ashley Lanier says:

    It is refreshing to find a teacher who bases their philosophy on these things instead of intimidation and arrogance. I have enjoyed your class because of the fact that you have been so down to Earth with us. I especially find the aspect of humility to be an important one. As you have stated above, humility helps to open the door for learning so that everyone can find the answer together. In our Tests and Measures class, you have made sure to engage everyone in discussion and when someone has a question, you never address it as stupid or wrong. There are too many professors who think it is a waste of time to discuss things. I have found that class discussion leads to a deeper understanding of the material. I also think that you have done a great job of having empathy with your students. You always tell us that you understand we are going through a lot in school, and I was always grateful when you pushed the test date back a day or two instead of rushing us through the material. Overall, I would say you have done a wonderful job of expressing your teaching philosophy in class.

  9. Anna Knuckles says:

    Dr. Troyer,
    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I am an advocate for positive reinforcement and strive to use it daily in my classroom. I agree that humility, empathy, and love have to be the three components of the best classroom environment. I love the statement, “Seeing others clearly, truly understanding them allows the teaching to come from the heart and can dissolve even the most stubborn of learning difficulties.” I have personally seen how a soft answer and uplifting words can encourage students to persevere and overcome obstacles. I have seen words turn a situation that may seem hopeless into a positive learning experience. Love is the foundation of a successful classroom and I am in full agreement that love changes things. Love inspires others to learn, grow, and succeed. The statement, “There is a sense of magic and wonder that is almost palpable when we experience someone truly caring about us,” is a statement that could not be more true. I can think back to teachers that made a difference in my life and education, and they were teachers who truly cared about me. They not only cared about my academics, but also my personal life. Teaching is so much more than curriculum and assessments; it is about relationships and the lives that are influenced. This blog post spoke volumes to me about the true meaning of teaching.
    Sincerely,
    Anna Knuckles

  10. Shani Moore says:

    Dr. Troyer,

    I really appreciate your sincere and humble approach toward teaching. A successful learning environment must include each one of these attributes. I have encountered too many instructors/teachers who were not passionate about their job and it only caused more anguish to their students. The servanthood characteristics in education can transform the lives of so many students. Humility and compassion is such a needed attribute within the classroom. When a teacher decides to walk alongside a student, it encourages to the student to continue, even during difficult times. I had the opportunity of speaking with a non-traditional student who had been out of school for nine years. She was failing her classes because she was overwhelmed by the new demand of collegiate work. She had decided to quit school, but changed her mind when one of her teachers decided to take time out to assist her through her difficulty. That experience will not only affect her life, but her children. This is what ignites my heart about education. The ability to make a positive contribution to someone else’s life. Dr. Troyer. I celebrate the initiative you take in doing that for so many students. Thank you for such an amazing year. I appreciate your willingness to assist in anyway possible and I hope to be as impactful for my students in the future.

  11. Sally Smith says:

    Dr. Troyer,

    It has been a pleasure being a student in your class this semester. As a graduating senior, I have not had many teachers that have exhibited the love and passion for teaching as you have exhibited with us. Beyond teaching, I have not had teachers that have cared and been interested in the studetns that they were teaching as you have been with us. You care about each and every student; and you strive to make sure that all of your students are learning. It is sad that there are not more teachers/educators that are yearning to fulfill thier duties to the full potential and who are passionate like you are- and not just passionate about teaching, but about life too. You aren’t afraid to admit of your shortcomings, and you aren’t afraid to seperate yourself from your degree. There are so many professors who are so worried about being above the students and feeling high and mighty that they forget about the purpose and reason for being an educator. You are able to exhibit these 3 qulatities and you are a successful educator. These 3 qulaities help to make a successful educator. I found this article intriging and I really enjoyed reading it. I can honestly say that you are a successful educator. You are passionate and you care/love your students. You help us to understand concepts by using practical examples that relate to our lives. You use a varety of methods for teaching and try to incorporate the varieety of learners in your lesson. You have an excellent teaching style, and I would not recommend changing anything about it. I absolutely love your passion and drive in life, not just in the classroom, and I envy that you can be real in the classroom. It is evident that you exhibit all of these wonderful characteristics from your article, and they make you a great professor! Although it is your last semester at VSU, I know without a doubt (from being in your class and reading your post on your website) that you will go far in life and will live your life to it full potential. It is inspiring to see someone be passionate about life, know so much knowledge, and to have so many unique and interesting skills. Your class will be one that I will not forget. Although I am not going to be a teacher, I will remember the lessons I learned from being in your class as I continue to pursue my career and help others.

    -Sally Smith

  12. Shelby Altman says:

    I would like to say thank you for making this class enlightening and understandable. There are so many dynamics to Test and Measurements, but the way you laid out the class and the information made the class interesting. After reading this article, I see all those characters in the way you teach. I know that in class I did not tell any personal stories, but listening to others and how you responded also helped me learn from theirs. The discussion that were on the topic were the best part of the class, because we were talking about real life situations. Unlike how I pictured the being a boring lecture. Your bubbly personality and challenging questions and answer session during class were very helpful.

  13. Ykeisha Baker says:

    From the article you gave a comparison between teachers who actually care about the students and those who just go through the motions…using humility, empathy and love to describe the attitude of the teachers we may have. As a student I can honestly say I have witnessed both and you are one of many that actually care about your students. At the beginning of the article it goes into how the best way to encourage a student is through personal accountability, presenting them with a problem and letting the student figure out what works for their specific build. Humility is stating that students should feel comfortable in the learning environment, in which I think everyone in the classroom was comfortable. In fact we were so comfortable we even shared our personal life situations relating to class discussions. I think this has a lot to do with your teaching styles. Being you are such an open professor with your discussions it makes us open-minded as students. Empathy from my understanding is basically stating that as an educator you shouldn’t be easy on the students but know when to step in when you see someone struggling. Being in your class I didn’t see anyone struggling an if they were you were always willing to explain more in depth to their better understanding. Lastly love, which I think is important in both loving your students and loving what you do as an educator. I can definitely say as an student having numerous professors, you love teaching. I honestly never seen you have a less passionate day then another. Throughout this semester I feel like we were interested because we saw how interested you were in the information. You then state that a humble teacher truly embodies the full meaning of love, being both in tune with self and students which allows love to express itself naturally. With that being said we know that love was definitely expressed through your teaching. I really enjoyed your class and have so much to take from it into my personal and professional life. Thank you for the opportunity to experience a real learning environment.

  14. Brett McLemore says:

    The content of this article is very true. When I started teaching, I believed my classroom had to be ruled with an iron fist. My heart was in the right place in that I wanted to teach the students in my class so they could leave with additional knowledge however my tactics were all wrong. Oddly enough, this was not my first rodeo because I first started teaching in the technical colleges. I thought I had to be a hard nose so the students would comply. As I continued to teach, I would experiment with my attitude and feelings toward the students. It didn’t take long before I developed a new teaching strategy. Respect and enthusiasm was contagious. If I had a problem with my students, I would kindly ask them outside and we would settle our disagreement in the hall with much less hostility. I would come to class in a good mood because I loved what I did. The students began to tell me that while the content was not their favorite, the class definitely was. This was very pleasing to hear. I want my students to come to my class and know that I care about them, about their knowledge, and about their success. I offer various opportunities for improvement and encourage them to try their best. From the first day of class I tell them that while I love math, it does not come as easy for me as some. I inform them that I had to work hard to get where I am and they can be as successful if not more so if they are willing to put in the time and effort. We have a discussion about intelligence and how I also despised those people who simply sat in class and did nothing while I wrote everything the teacher said, did all my homework plus some extra and still didn’t fair as well as some who worked much less. Life isn’t fair, but if you set your sites on a goal and work hard, it can be achieved.

    • Jaycee Jackson says:

      Dr. Troyer-if this is THE Mr. Mclemore that I had in high school, then he’s right. I would complain every single day that I couldn’t stand math and the content area wasn’t my favorite, I wasn’t any good at it and I didn’t like it but I enjoyed his class because he genuinely cared about us as his students and I just want to say I truly appreciate the educator he is now and the man he was in out class. I felt appreciated as a student and to know there are educators in this world who truly care is one of the greatest things in the world.

  15. Laura Connell says:

    Dr. Troyer,

    WOW! What a great post! You nailed it! The art of instruction truly must consist of humility, empathy, and love. Students should feel all three of these on a daily basis from their teachers. It is hard to face challenges when you feel like you are being dictated upon. Creating that positive, loving environment is so important. It is something that some educators do not understand. It scares me for my own child as she starts school soon. I have found that my students perform best when they are given positive reinforcements. Many days they just need a hug!
    Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to know you on a personal basis because I am in your PSYCH 7010 class online. That is the disadvantage to online learning. However, by reading several of the replies I can tell you are this type of teacher in the classroom! You certainly do the best job at creating the positive environment online! I strive to have these 3 qualities each day!

  16. Alexious Denson says:

    Your teaching skills was definitely characterized in your article. You showed humility, empathy, and love, You were very passionate about making us understand the information. You made the class fun also by always making us laugh. Your class didn’t feel like a regular class I’m usually in by making the information presented to us easy to remember. I was glad having you as my teacher because of you drive and happiness you brought to every class. Even when we got a answer wrong when were talking in our class discussion you didn’t come out and just say no that’s wrong you would always say that’s a great suggestions which just makes us as your students think even harder for more suggestions. I believe what you do with your students is a great way for many to interpret the information and also for students to obtained better grade in a hard class. You made a class that i thought would be hard for me, a ease to pass with a good grade. I was very grateful to have you as my teacher and you also showed me that i can have fun while learning.

  17. Jordan Hoes says:

    This is a super awesome blog and I feel like I need to share this with all of my previous teachers. If they would have employed humility, empathy and love I feel I would have succeeded tremendously! I believe I have done well in your class because I felt you showed me all three of these things. Even though I did not speak much in class and did not give my opinion about a lot of things, I was still able to observe your behaviors towards other students and was very impressed. No question was stupid and usually no answer was entirely wrong. You always made us feel like our input was important and seemed to really relate to us. You always encouraged us to talk and with the final project, encouraged us to express our creative side with no boundaries. That’s how I see this class; having no boundaries. We were free to express our thoughts and were often times asked to see things through a different light. Overall, I felt like you were a great teacher and I am happy I was able to be a part of your class.

  18. Chanteldra Gardner says:

    You are one of the few teachers who understand this concept. Therefore, you fall into the category as an EDUCATOR!! Educators understand that they’re there to help us learn what they already know, not for us to “get it how you can”. You allow us to think critically while also guiding us along the way when we get lost. I came into your course thinking it would be the HARDEST class in the realm of Psychology. However, you made me change my mind shortly after the first day. You only want us to advance very far in education and learn as much as we can. It amazes me how much you know! I love your teaching styles, and not only do understand how to present information in a way that we can comprehend, you make sure we understand by giving the info in various ways. You also give us the chance to enlighten you on what we understand, and allow us to ask questions about what we don’t understand. Some professors here just have this thought that everyone understands their concepts on the first try! (I don’t know who told them this load of crap) They also aren’t so approachable when questions arise. They all want to stay high and mighty in this world of “I’m the teacher, if you wish to know what I mean simply read the text”. You, on the other hand, make sure the majority understands before moving on to other concepts. Also, if there are questions, you are more than willing to help us. Your writings sum up the epitome of the perfect educator (in my opinion) and this is something that you do well. No matter how the grades depict, I personally learned a lot in your class that I won’t forget. Thanks for all you’ve done.

  19. Jordan Smith says:

    Thank you, just thank you so very much. Honestly, when I first got in this class, I took it lightly. I would hear you teach everyday I would attend class, but I didn’t start listening to what you were saying until 3 or 4 weeks in. I slightly feel bad about doing that because when I did start listening to you teach and everyone’s stories, it was almost like a breath of fresh air. I learned to love this class because it was completely different from any class I had taken previously in college. The style of teaching and the class environment made me feel welcome and somewhat closer to some individuals that I never thought I’d ever be in contact with in my lifetime.
    Somewhere near the middle of this semester, I was going through a difficult time which caused me to be heavily distracted. I started to just give up, however, when I went to your class and listened, you taught with humility, empathy, and love; you are partly the reason I made it through some of the more difficult challenges I had to overcome this semester. I respect you for this and once again, I thank you.

  20. Jaycee Jackson says:

    Being able to empathize with a student I believe is one of the hardest things for many educators. Many are older and forget exactly what it is like to be a student and to have situations come up that we cannot avoid. Problems will always occur and I believe when we as basic human beings can even try to empathize with one another, we turn into something else all together-an exceptional person. Students need to know that educators are there for them, not just the pay. And if an educator is around just for the pay then they are in the wrong profession. If you love what you are doing, you will never work a day in your life. And it is SO true. Loving one another is something we should all do, regardless of age, race, gender, or standing in life-we should accept and love one another and everything else will fall into place. If we can walk hand in hand on the road of education, then we as humans and the entire world will be doing MUCH, much better in all that we do. Educators teach all other professions, and with the support of one another, the world can and will be a better place.

  21. Martha Mazurkiewicz says:

    What a beautiful and real sentiment you have added from Carl Jung regarding adding the element of human feeling into the work of an educator. When we speak of our subject area, yes we love and have a passion for it, but transmitting our love for it and teaching that love for knowledge is what the students yearn for at school. It may be something they are lacking at home or it may be something that they are accustomed to having at home, either way we must incorporate the love of learning because they want the human factor, and regardless of our knowledge, it’s the feeling we convey that they will remember. I also feel that a reflective teacher is a teacher that is willing to improve daily with each interaction we have with our students. This is demonstrated in your blog when you speak of understanding oneself before being able to understand our students. Having empathy about their frustrations, and self-doubts and truly humbling ourselves in our actions always reminds me of Christ washing his disciples feet. I won’t apologize in making this reference because this represented the ultimate action of humility to me. I do feel that there is a direct connection in that the greatest leaders are the greatest servers. I am in no way saying that you should spoon-feed the students or allow them privileges they haven’t achieved, however we must allow them to sense that their success is important to you and this in turn is your success as well. Dr. Troyer, I am truly touched by your blog and am almost regretful about having taken the online class instead of experiencing it in the classroom setting. I wish you continued success in your future endeavors and hope that I am able to continue accessing your blog.

  22. Diamond Crume says:

    To one of the best professors to ever TEACH at VSU:

    Mrs. Troyer
    I have to say that I really enjoyed the post I read above. I read the post over and over again to really grasp what was being said. To really understand and comprehend the message that is being portrayed, repeating it in a ‘self-talk’ manner worked for me. I can say that as a professor, you embody every detail of the above posting. I believe this is also something you have been trying to inform us students on when it comes to learning, and our journeys into becoming teachers and so forth. As Carl Jung said, “Love is what really allows learning to occur, facilitates the memory of what was learned, and fosters the desire to continue the learning by sharing it with someone else.” I get it, and with that, it just may become one of my favorite quotes! How I see it is as follows: I love the two year old kids that I work with at a nearby church nursery. From changing pull-ups, to giving them snacks, and reading Bible scriptures, I grew to love them individually from their different personalities. I love the fact that when it comes to engaging them into learning such as learning how to say their colors, identifying animals through puzzles, or simply teaching them manners, I love the fact that they can learn from me. I want to develop a stronger passion to teach children. In order to know how their minds work, and how they learn, applies to the many different topics I have learned in your class. Learning how a child thinks at a two year old’s age, allows me to understand them better. And with that, drives me to want to learn a little bit more on what is to be experienced from them later as they mature. I appreciate the effort and joy that you put into your personal own art of instruction to our class, and I am sure you will be missed. Be blessed in your future, and see you later (no good byes)!

  23. Ashley N. Bouie says:

    I agree that educators who lack any of the three basic human qualities would be doing a disservice to their students. Reflecting on my educational career, I can say that the teachers and professors who have had a positive and influential impact on my life both personally and academically have possessed these three characteristics. Fortunately, I have had a similar experience with you as my professor. The class environment you create promotes learning and allows students to be less anxious to ask questions or contribute during class discussion. You understand yourself and your students well. Looking at things from the students’ point of view was something I noticed you do. I’ve also noticed that you’ve tried to eliminate feelings of frustration and self-doubt and instead, promoted confidence. For example, you would spend class time to review homework assignments due later that day. You are humble, but you aren’t afraid to make references to your experiences to better explain a concept in class. Overall, I would say that you pos5sess these characteristics and more. I can see that you are passionate about what you teach and you take pride in making sure students receive the best education possible.

  24. Javius R. McGhee says:

    I have nothing but positive comments about your teachings this semester. I can honestly say that you are the best Psychology professor I’ve encountered throughout my college career. You thoroughly explain the lessons and also allow each student to give their own real-life examples, which i think is an awesome technique because it strays away from the confusing psychology jargon and provides a better understanding of the topic. Even when a student isn’t completely right about something you don’t shoot them down by saying “no, you’re wrong”, you ensure them that they’re on the right track and to dig deeper. Another aspect of your teaching style that I feel is significantly helpful is your personality. You’re always in a great mood and I feel as if we, your students, feed off of that energy. It’s almost as if you’re one of us. The quote in this current blog under “humility” stating “I am not a teacher, only a fellow traveler” fits you perfectly because you open up and relate to us on a level that most professors don’t. I only hope that I am lucky enough to become a student in another one of your classes in the future.

  25. Ashley Brooke Knight says:

    I like this article. I totally agree that teaching is a passion. In order to cultivate curiosity in second grade where I teach, I try to present materail in a variety of fun and engaging way. I always try to ask thought provoking questions. I love how this article discusses forcing, intimidating and controlling students does not work. I once was told that you can do everything for your students but if they dont know you care, it means nothing to them. You can be in control of your student without controlling the way they think. I think if there is one of the three areas of this article that I could work on is empathy. I have adopted a no excuses policy in my room. This has worked so well. I know that I need to take the time to really understand my students and their struggles.

  26. Jamie Downs says:

    Dr. Troyer,
    I loved the blog! It was a great read, one that other professors could benefit from! I must admit I was apprehensive about stepping into class on the 1st day. Now it seems silly that I felt that way. I feel that you possess all three qualities of teaching, empathy, humility, and love, to the highest degree. These qualities do not feel forced or fake with you, I believe they are a part of who you are, in the classroom and out of the classroom.
    The daily interaction with every student is something that does not happen often in other classrooms. It has been my experience that other professors do teach with the air of superiority, that makes for an uncomfortable class and I will often not ask questions or for clarification on a topic to avoid the feeling of irritating the professor. You have been more than a professor that stood in front of a powerpoint and read to us, you have been a guide. I love that you didn’t just directly answer questions in class, instead you led us, as a group, to the answer!
    At the beginning of the semester, I was questioning my major, and now, at the end of the semester and YOU, I have a clearer idea of what it is I want to do. I am grateful for my experience in your class! Best wishes for you on your new journey!

  27. Savanna Ford says:

    This article is so accurate and I love it. Many educators forget the importance of love in the classroom. Without humility, a teacher cannot connect with their students. Students need to feel like they can relate to their teachers. A teacher who is humble is much more approachable and therefore students feel free to come to them with any problems they may be having. Without empathy, a teacher will not be respected. When a teacher is empathetic, it shows that they understand the hardships of being a student. Sometimes empathy is what drives students to work harder. Without love, what is the point of even becoming a teacher? Teachers do their jobs because of the love they have for students and making a difference. If a teacher does not put love into what they are teaching, how can they expect their students to learn? I have enjoyed every minute of being in your class, Dr. Troyer. You have taught me that it is important to be passionate in the classroom. I can only hope that one day I’m as good of a teacher as you are. I am sad to see you go, but I will carry with me the knowledge you have passed on. Not only the material that you taught us in the classroom, but also the love you have for your profession, and also your students. It has truly been a blessing.

  28. Angela O'Connor says:

    I love this outlook on teaching! So often I feel as if professors get stuck in a routine and they don’t realize that years have gone by and along with the years, the chance to reach individual students. I think that going through each class is more than the specific material itself, it is the challenges we face along the way. I love to pushed and to be challenged to do things or think about things in ways that I never have before and I feel like your class has given me that opportunity. I also like that you focus on being fair and taking into consideration others interpretation. To me this, truly demonstrates all 3 qualities. Who are we to say that our understanding or way of thinking is better than anyone else’s simply because it is our own? I think that you showed us the value of open-mindedness and were able to reach us students in a way that transcended the material. Thank You!

  29. Savannah L. Ray says:

    Dr. Troyer,
    I love this teaching philosophy that you have articulated. It shows not only that you have mastered teaching itself but have also extended your compassion for your students beyond the classroom. I love this quote by Carl Jung and can definitely see where it plays an important role in teaching. Tapping into students “human feelings” can be just what they need to point them in the right direction. Everyone should want to do well in school but having a greater respect for the class and professor can increase ones chances for doing so. For instance one might be more motivated to succeed if they do not want to disappoint their teacher. This usually comes with a deeper level of gratitude for the professor in general and you have definitely accomplished this. You have succeeded in tapping into different learning styles and have excelled in showing us great humility, empathy, and love throughout the semester. The fact that you were able to keep my attention alone speaks mounds. This semester has been such a joy and I am glad I got the opportunity to have you as a professor. The knowledge that you obtain not only about tests and measures but about life in general is phenomenal. Thank you for such an awesome experience! Best, Savannah

  30. Jordan Rackley says:

    Dr. Troyer,

    First and foremost I would like to say thank you. It is so easy to simply get lost in the system as an education major, and your class reminded me of the reasons I choose this major in the first place. Just like the post explains the simplest traits of a teacher like humility, empathy, and love that would usually come naturally can be easily forgotten and pushed to the side for the sake of something else. Your teaching style however lacked none of these traits throughout this semester; you proved that being and all around teacher can be done. As a professor you made it a point to get to know us as individuals not just us as students, which I greatly admire and hope that one day I can put as much enthusiasm and culture into my classes as much as you did with ours. I can truly say that I am fully proud of my choice to be an educator after taking your class and being reminded of the difference an effective teacher can make.
    So thank you once again for putting a little bit of faith and hope back in us all for those that are truly passionate about being educators and thank you for your words of this blog because they are beyond true.

  31. Tamelia Hall says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article and your class. I agree with the idea that many in the profession of teaching have forgotten that it takes love, humility and empathy to teach. I can honestly say that this class has been the first time I have actually encountered a professor who actually cares for her students and the students care about the professor and class. I originally came into this class, thinking it would be like the rest and just take it to fulfill my major requirements but I have actually learned what strategies and tactics to help me successful when I become a Speech Therapist. I really enjoyed learning about the other students in the class. Many professors fail to even acknowledge their students and get to know them. When a professor does that it actually motivates students to be engaged and come to class. I will never forget the discussion we had about how students are expected to learn information just long enough to test on it and forget it. This class has taught me that learning isn’t about a grade on a final but what you get out of it and how you apply it to life, which I believe is the real definition of learning. This class has been encouraging especially while dealing with some of the issues that have came up during this semester in my life. Thanks for being that one professor that exemplifies all of these characteristics.

  32. Natalie Ajamian says:

    To be brutally honest, the very first day that I walked into your class, I was scared to death. I could immediately tell that I was going to be out of my comfort zone and challenged this semester. However, at the time, I did not see how this would benefit me. I have attended school at VSU for three years now, and for the most part, my teachers have spoon fed me. I have always been handed the material, forced to memorize it, and then spit it back out on test day. What I did not realize was that this spoon-feeding method of teaching would not benefit me in the long run. I plan to attend graduate school in a year and I know that it will challenge me like I have been challenged in this Tests and Measurements course. I realize now that I have been given a gift by taking a class like this with a teacher who does not just read straight of the PowerPoint, but actually takes the time to break down what we are learning (which to me is usually dry and difficult material). As far as humility, empathy, and love go, I have had teachers who I can tell have a true understanding of their students and want to help them in any way they can. However, these teachers do not usually make it their goal to combine empathy with challenge. I appreciate the fact that you showed interest in our lives and took occasional “class surveys” to ask us various questions and moniter our progress. Part of empathizing with someone is getting to know the person. I fear that when I leave this class I will revert back to my earlier ways of simply memorizing the information for the sole purpose of making a good grade on the test, but then what have I taken from this class? It is only once in a while that you come across someone who has a passion for teaching and also has a genuine concern for what the students not only learn, but understand.

  33. Jessica Hilliker says:

    Out of the three characteristics you have named here, you excelled in the love department. Since I’ve been in college, I have never been in a class with so much interaction and yet still felt like my interaction was the most important. You never failed to make us feel like we had the right answer to everything or our stories were relevant to your life. You, as my teacher, have more than influenced my outlook on teaching and future hopes for my educational career. When I finally reach the point in my career when I’m helping children on a daily basis I can only hope to posses such a balance of humility, empathy, and love.

  34. Dr. Troyer,
    There are very few teachers who strike the right balance between caring and being fair. This was God’s dilemma: reconciling justice with love and forgiveness. It took Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to let justice be served and love win out at the same time. So it takes sacrifice each time we pursue this purpose. Seeing you sharing a part of your mind and soul in the PSYC 3900 course this semester convinced me that you freely and passionately sacrifice yourself for your students. Your teaching philosophy reminded me of Apostle Paul’s words, “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Corinthians 8:1). While teaching our class, you showed knowledge far deeper than the textbook or what would have been expected by university standards, and yet, you imparted it with humility and love, so that we were all edified. Thank you for answering all my difficult questions and for putting up with my impromptu comments. Thank you for being compassionate when I was sick and had to miss class. Thank you for your prompt email replies. And thank you for teaching us to always see the whole, and not just its parts. May God comfort and continue to beautify your soul! You are so precious to me and to Him!

    Codrina

  35. Jessica Tucker says:

    I can relate to a lot of this message about love, humility, and empathy. I agree I have learned more from teachers and professors who have showed a genuine unconditional positive regard for their students.
    I recall in undergraduate school core professors that clearly did not seem to care if students grasped the material or not. I remember one instance in a math class, I asked a question about the homework and the professor responded to the question in a condescending manner as if I had asked a question that should have been common knowledge. I found it difficult and awkward to ask for any more help from him because of fear of feeling dumb or inferior. I felt as if this professor could have cared less if I failed or not. However, there were other classes that I felt the professors had a genuine sense of caring and humility. The difference for me was the professor opened his or herself up to giving their knowledge freely and showing a genuine interest in my education and my future. They seemed to understand that we are all human and we all begin as students. I feel more teachers need to remember these three keys to success in teaching and instruction because it is paramount that the students trust the teacher and they will do this once they know you care about who they are as a person as well as a learner.

  36. Steve DeFelice says:

    After reading the article I thought about what to write. I believe you have hit the nail on the head with all three. Problem is, most educators are not taught how to show humility, empathy and love in the classroom. One the administrative side of the house it is viewed as a weakness and even in the classroom can be taken advantage of. During this class and maybe because of the level of learning all these attributes were displayed in a way that complimented each other. This kind of display or manner of teaching can do so much for a student and a classroom. My class was great because everyone was made to feel comfortable answering questions, giving feedback and sharing personal stories. I truly believe people are a product of their environment and that class environment brought out so much in everyone. NONE of my other classes had people sharing personal stories that were actual hard to talk about for them and were hard to listen to. If it’s hard to listen to then your already showing and displaying your empathy and love towards your fellow student. The trick will be remembering how we felt at that one moment and carrying it into teaching. If a student is sharing something difficult or having an issue with the class information, you as a teacher will have the skills to identify what is going on and take the appropriate steps to safeguard that student and encourage others to share. What I have learned through this course is I have had an excellent example of good teaching. It has made me realize many things about myself and others. I learned college is not for everyone and guys like me are best fit with a kit and overseas. Others in my class are going to be excellent teachers and extremely well rounded SLP’s. As for the other specialized areas, I believe they will all shine from what they have learned in this class.

  37. Raquel Burks says:

    I completely agree with this post. I never realized how ineffective it was to gloat your authority over students. It is important to show that throughout the class respect is expected for EVERYONE. Power goes to peoples head. I like how in our classroom setting Dr. Troyer lets students be involved in discussions. We get active in asking questions and clarity for understanding. We tell her what we understand through projects of our reflection. I appreciate the PowerPoint slides. They’re never overwhelming with too many words, they have the page numbers on them so we know exactly where to find information in our books. They even have chapter study guides for test. It is important that we as educators show students that we are people with hearts, and compassion. We have to treat our students as if they were related to us instead of a number. We should care about their success and not focus more on income. Teaching is the Father of tangible gifts money should not be the motivator. When students struggle we need to take the time to understand why and not criticize them on their misunderstandings. We should take different approaches to get them thinking. Its important to remember that everyone learns differently. Art needs to be embraced in our classroom as a outlet and appreciation. We get students engaged and get their brain going.

  38. Ali Pettigrew says:

    The thoughts and expressions in your article are evident and visible in both your classroom and your interactions with students outside of class. The humility, kindness, and thoughtfulness expressed in your article are beautiful concepts, and as a student, I am thankful for them.
    As a teacher, your expertise in the field is clear, but your passion sets you apart. This passion is obvious to the students and provided me with a great amount of encouragement to cultivate my own interest in the field- not only to succeed in your class, but to learn concepts and theories that would be applicable in my personal life and career.
    Your warmth and humility allows students with an opportunity to create bonds with one another and join in a team-like fashion as you lead the way. And your leadership skills are that of a servant leader.
    I am beyond thankful for willingness that you showed in taking time to directly explain and guide homework assignments and difficult class concepts. This article is completely correct in the statement regarding the detrimental effects of frustration, anxiety, self-doubt, and previous failures.
    Both you and your class enriched my semester. Thankful for your humility and grateful for your kindness.

  39. Jasmaine says:

    As a student for most of my life, I know a good and effective teacher, when I see one. – Forcing students, intimidating students, or controlling students simply…..does not work as effectively as utilizing more positive approaches. When I read this sentence, all I could do was scream yes. I have had teachers who have the capabilities to be a great teacher, but instead demonstrated these characteristic, in order to “gain” respect. There were classes I took, because I had to for my degree program, however there were professors, who I would never take because they intimidated former students. I don’t mind being challenged by a professor, but to be forced to only learn in a specific way is a hard thing for me to. Having Troyer, has a professor has been very rewarding, intriguing, and challenged. I actually had to apply myself to the learning the content, and creating new study techniques for exams. When our class first began, we were introduced to the content, and told how to properly take notes from her power points. What I also appreciated was that I was taught how to find the important information on the subject. Dr. Troyer, also challenge us to apply and retain the content by asking us why caring testing contents, took place. I love that Dr. Troyer, spoke about love, humility, and empathy, was needed in a teaching method; which is a very good combination for teaching students.

  40. Monica Quinn says:

    Not only in this article, but also your website as a whole clearly shows your love for teaching and your students. The majority of my teachers do not take the time to get to know my name or my interests, but constantly throughout the semester you have personally asked my opinion and thoughts on a specific topic that was being discussed during class. Most of my professors only come to class to teach their students the basic material and then be done for the day. I agree with your statement that teachers should be teaching the deeper meaning of material to students. Unfortunately, most professors these days only teach the broad information, and completely forget about any deeper meaning. I appreciate your enthusiasm from the moment you walk in to our classroom. I cannot think of a single class period of when you were in a bad mood, or if you were I sure could not tell. On the contrary, I was either tired or in bad moods for several different classes, but your class is always filled with excitement. I always left your class feeling better than I did when I first walked in. Every day I felt like I had discovered something new when I walked out of your room. Sometimes I would learn something new, sometimes I would realize I had a new opinion on a particular subject, or sometimes I would learn an interesting fact about you or one of my peers. I enjoyed how you let the class freely discuss and bring in our own life experiences. I learned a lot from my classmates and their background stories helped me learn the material easier. I also found it interesting when you would talk about your past experiences as a teacher, artist, or different places you’ve lived. By treating us as equal human beings to yourself, I think you greatly executed your argument that teachers should contain humility, empathy, and love towards their students. I remember several different times you stated that teachers should also be learning from their students just as much as students learn from their teachers. By asking us our thoughts, I believe you illustrated that you truly wanted to know and understand what we as adults thought on the material that you were teaching. I appreciated when you decided to go over our test with us when you noticed that as a class we did not do as good as usual. The entire period was focused on going over each question and answer and the understanding of why that was the correct the answer. On some questions several of my classmates were highly confused, but you concentrated on that question until everyone was on the same page. You showed empathy to our class by understanding what we had initially thought on the test and why we had chosen those answers. Empathy is an important characteristic a teacher should have. By understand a student and what one is going through will help a bond grow between a teacher and student which will initiate an easier path for knowledge for both the teacher and student. The final, and my opinion the most important characteristic a teacher should possess, is love. Without love there is nothing. A student who does not feel loved or cared for will less likely contain motivation to learn and grow as a student. In your class, I always felt cared for. I knew you loved us each and want the very best for all of your students. I hope one day you can look back on my class and understand the importance that you have made in each of our lives. You have reminded us all of the reasons we want to be educators. I know I will take my knowledge of different leaning styles, cultures, and multidimensional behaviors in my classroom and treat every student with respect and no judgment. Hopefully all of your students will remember to not be arrogant once they get their degrees, but thankful for the opportunity to become a teacher, and to continue learning every day for the rest of their lives.

    • Raquel Burks says:

      I completely agree with this post. I never realized how ineffective it was to gloat your authority over students. It is important to show that throughout the class respect is expected for EVERYONE. Power goes to peoples head. I like how in our classroom setting Dr. Troyer lets students be involved in discussions. We get active in asking questions and clarity for understanding. We tell her what we understand through projects of our reflection. It is important that we as educators show students that we are people with hearts, and compassion. We have to treat our students as if they were related to us instead of a number. We should care about their success and not focus more on income. Teaching is the Father of tangible gifts money should not be the motivator. When students struggle we need to take the time to understand why and not criticize them on their misunderstandings. We should take different approaches to get them thinking. Its important to remember that everyone learns differently. Art needs to be embraced in our classroom as a outlet and appreciation. We get students engaged and get their brain going.

  41. Misty Lamb says:

    I have found this to be true in academia, mostly at the undergraduate level. I have not experienced cold and distant professors at the graduate level. Perhaps because, as graduate student, I am viewed with a little more respect, and quite possibly I am more serious about my education. While I agree with your points, I also have to respectfully disagree that collegiate instructors who lack humility, empathy and love are entirely to blame for creating a classroom environment that prevents students from asking questions and caring about the material in a meaningful way. I have been an undergraduate student, on my own for the first time, struggling to figure out how to balance school and social life, and attempting to prioritize. The truth is that as an undergraduate student there were some courses I just simply did not care about. It was a checklist item toward a degree I wasn’t really sure how I was going to use, and oh by the way, wasn’t really sure I wanted in the first place. I was doing good if I showed up to class at all and when I did come, I was probably in some form of lounge attire. The material was not relevant at the time because of the latest early 20 something worry- where was I going out, when is that next exam, I can’t believe she said that to me, I wonder how I get him to notice me, will we be tested on this, I think I want pizza for lunch even though my friend hates pizza maybe I can talk her into it, what was that he said again, oh look I got a text. I think my point is that while I may not have been touched to my heart and soul by some professors, their “tough love” or “sink or swim” attitude didn’t make me care about the material in a meaningful way, but it made me grow up and take responsibility and learn how to be a successful adult. Those types of professors taught me more than the material in the textbook, they taught me how to survive in the real life adult world beyond the nurturing environment of academia. I think that professors who create a classroom environment with humility, empathy and love, such as yourself are needed and beneficial. However, I also think the professors who have “an air of superiority and that an attitude of arrogance will solidify command in the classroom” have their place as well. In the workforce those types of employers exist. Many of us will have to learn how to navigate and deal with people like this at some point in our lives. We will have to learn how to mature and be taken seriously. It is very hard to take a 20 year old seriously who does not have on shoes when he presents a “professional” presentation to an entire class- is that really going to fly when he goes to apply for a job? Dr. Troyer I think you are needed in academia. So you bring great ideas to the table. But how do we transition the world of academia to meet the changing needs of the students? How do we maintain a balance of warmth and boundaries in order to prepare young students for a harsh competitive world? I don’t think simply having Humility, empathy and love are the only answers to these questions- but they are a great place to start the conversation.

  42. Natalia Shakina says:

    I do agree with the three qualities described:
    1. As a teacher you need to be able to love your subject so much that you are able to share it with your students.
    2. Passion without love would not be a driven force for everybody. A teacher needs to be passionate about what he/she is preaching and truly believe in it. It is contagious, and students will share your passion sooner or later.
    3. Empathy is significant! You may love your subject, be passionate about it, but you need to understand that students might not feel this way. Understand and accept. They can be good students without your passion to the subject, it does not make them worse.
    I would also add: flexibility. It is discouraging, when a teacher is not flexible and sees only one and the only way to be right.

  43. Destinee Brogdon says:

    I love this article! It really shows that you love what you do and that is so important. So many teachers should take the time to learn about their students as well as understand themselves. It would really make learning so much better. I do not like being in classrooms with professors who have the air of superiority because I do not feel like they do not truly appreciate the hard work that some students put into the teachers class. I feel like they often forget that they were once in our shoes trying to make it through their college classes.
    I really enjoyed your class this semester and your (what some would consider) unconventional methods of teaching. It made what would be a painstakingly boring class slightly more interesting and I appreciate that. I hope you continue doing what you love after you leave VSU and you will be missed.

  44. Kimberly A. Gore says:

    While reading this article, I can really relate to it. As a student, I dealt with humiliation while I was in school by teachers who felt they were only there to receive a pay check. Before I became a teacher, I always told myself I am here to inspire and motivate my students.

    Now that I am a teacher, I inspire my student everyday to do well. I do not really get into my students personal lives, but I do try to comfort them in any way that I can. I always encourage them to do well and strive for the best no matter what the circumstances are.

    I love all of my students equally. When they want to give up, I push them harder. If I show my students love, they will know that I care no matter how hard they may think it is.

    Great article!!

  45. Cornell Jones says:

    If I could sum up this article is a short phrase it would be “Teaching for the sake of teaching, devoid of heart, is not teaching at all”. I believe that the above article dissect the above statement into individual aspects, but keeps the core structure of the statement. I can also attest that your personal teaching style has been derived from internalizing said “…Art of Teaching”.
    As far as your instruction for this current semester, it has been one of excellence. I find that you have a passion for teaching that other teachers seem to lack. I also feel that at times you as a teacher may feel artificially “bound” so to speak by the current structure of teaching, trying to push the norm as much as is possible in the confines of the curriculum, which I believe is a great things and show initiative a desire on the part of the teacher. It may however not be looked on as kindly from those who have a very ‘ridge’ view of teaching, those that give little to no room for innovation on the part of the teacher and simply demand strict adherence to a given curriculum.
    In whatever capacity you teach at in the future, if possible, I would encourage you to keep giving your students the types of assignments and projects that allow student to ‘critically’ think, it is sorely lacking in modern day academia, and I feel is the reason we as a Nation are becoming ‘dumb’d down’. The education system has produced people who are able to pass tests, and encourages such behavior, but it is very poor at teaching in such a way the helps student to internalize information by seeing its relevance in life. I feel that in many ways you were able to bring some ‘relevance’ to educational psychology for myself and the rest of the class. Will all of it stick, no, but I believe that much of it is internalized in a way that life will bear witness to in a way that tests may not be able to quantify.

  46. Laurie Smith says:

    I loved the insight provided in the text of your message. You truly highlighted the “extra mile” that many teachers unfortunately neglect. I have been fortunate to experience teachers who upheld humility, empathy, and love within their classroom and I know for certain those are the classes I learned the most in. Carl Jung’s quote provided in the post is truly moving. We often get so caught up in what is only necessary and worry far too less about the vital component. Certainly curriculum can be measured, objectives can be written and paired with standards, and assessments can be formed to provide data, but what is not as easily measured is in fact what makes all the difference. Students are more engaged, more invested, and care more about what they learn when the teacher remembers these key components to the art of instruction. You also highlighted another important area of instruction in which the number or level of degree earned does not equal a person’s significance. This is a lesson we could stand to learn worldwide. It’s the person that matters. Thanks for writing so boldly on a topic that the world of academia has allowed to fall by the wayside. We need to begin to shift our thinking on what really matters in the classroom and in the requirements or standards we are setting for the instruction provided. Students matter and we have to quit thinking of them as numbers and charts. We have to learn to be intentional about our teaching methods and proactively teach with humility, empathy, and love.

  47. Schuyler Kenzel says:

    I believe this article should be read by many aspiring teachers. This article would benefit many people but especially educators. Reading this, I thought about previous teachers in school and professors in college. My favorite teacher in school portrayed all of these characteristics; love being a big one. This teacher genuinely cared, and we all knew it. He was my 6th- 8th grade band teacher. To this day I still keep in touch with him, and he even came to my college band concert last night. He was selfless and caring while being an educator to us.
    Throughout my college, I actually dropped an English professor because I absolutely could not stand his cocky attitude! We had to interpret readings, and he made us feel so wrong if it wasn’t “right”. His opinions were right, not ours. He had no empathy toward our feelings while he told us we were wrong, therefore we did want to state our opinions or answers in class. I do particularly like your teaching style. I like how you opened up and made the class comfortable. When teachers are personable, it makes the class feel much less tense. You break things down to where we can understand it better, and that is helpful to me since psychology is not my strongest subject. When we answered questions and got it wrong, you didn’t make it seem like the end of the world or that we were stupid. That is very big to me, because once a student or child gets traumatized from getting an answer wrong, it’s safe to say they won’t answer one again. I also like how you went around the room on certain questions and also told us that there were no right or wrong answers to some of those questions. The classes that are at ease and don’t have to worry about feeling mortified are the most successful classes in my opinion. That way, there are no barriers to prevent us from learning and participating within a classroom.

  48. Erica Smitherman says:

    This article truly shows your passion for teaching. I could see it even through class how much you cared for each of us as students and as future educators. I agree with these three essential qualities a teacher should have. It does not make since to be a teacher if one has no humility, empathy, and love towards their students. I agree with your comment about how teachers do not teach their students the deeper meaning of material but rather giving information to get through the semester. Most of my classes are basically learning information in order to take a test and pass the course, which is helping the teachers keep their job. Many of my teachers do not show humility towards the students. They are being superior to the students rather than being personable and having a desire to know each and every one of them. I have noticed that you do not act like you are superior to the class based on your Ph. D and knowledge on the topic being discussed in class. I can see your humility as a teacher from being in your class this semester. I also see that you want to engage us as a class, and you have a desire to know us on a deeper level. You do not just give us information needed to do well on the tests but instead take time for us to understand the material and explain how we can apply the information to our life and to our future career. You show love to each of us and a desire to help us learn which makes the class enjoyable and helps us become the best we can be as students and as future educators. Also, as you discussed about empathy, it is important that the teacher connects to the students in order to understand the material. I have seen you do this in class, and it makes me have a desire to know my students in the same way. I am definitely going to use what I have learned from you, your teaching style, and what I have learned in this class as I become a future educator in the near future.

  49. Frankie Short says:

    Dr. Troyer,

    This article is so accurate! It has been a pleasure being in your class this semester. You are all of the three things you mentioned. The first day of class, you walked in and I wasn’t sure if you were a student or the instructor because you were so friendly and outgoing. (Most professors come off way too strong the first day.) Everyday since then, you have enlightened us with your knowledge while keeping us intrigued. You always know when you are losing our attention and you starting involving us more and more. You ask us questions and let us engage in the lesson.

    Throughout the semester we have build up a trust with you and each other. My fellow classmates and I feel free to share our thoughts and beliefs. Being in your class has not only taught me about education, but it has taught me about life and the interactions I have with others. You have taught us not only as a professor, but as a role model for what a good teacher is. You always go the extra mile to ask us how our day is or if we are ok. I cannot even count how many professors I have had who just rush out of the room when class is over and consider themselves so much better than their students. You care about us and it shows everyday.

    The passion you have for education and your students is not something that can be taught. If more professors cared as much as you do, the world would be a better place!

  50. Danielle Shifflett says:

    It is hard to find a teacher with these qualities today. Most of the time, deadlines and pending publications get in the way of an individual actually being a “teacher” to their students. From the beginning of this semester, I was taken back by the energy and enthusiasm you brought to the classroom in a way that gained our attention and respect. I liked how you encouraged us each class session to work hard and to really learn instead of memorize random vocabulary words.
    The way you taught our class showed me that there are still some teachers in the world that genuinely care about their students’ doing well in class, not just in assessment, but in understanding. Teaching is about connecting with your students on their level so they understand different concepts– you are teaching students so they understand, not flaunting your own intelligence in their faces. You also showed us that the subject’s concepts do exist and are relevant in the real world, which gave it more meaning and value to us.
    “Keeping it real”… I was skeptical at first, but as the semester started rolling I began to become more comfortable and realized that you only wanted the best for your students. I enjoyed your class, except for the difficult tests! But all in all, being encouraged to participate and not sit passively made it worthwhile.

  51. Katelyn Mason says:

    Not only does this article reflect the art of teaching, this article also reflects how anyone serving the public should behave. Personally, I am not pursuing a teaching degree; however, I am pursuing a degree that will allow me to serve others. Any professional that serves others has the ability to leave a lasting impact on peoples’ lives. In striving to impact others in an effective way, it is so important that one remains humble, acts empathetically, and always exhibits love. In my four years at VSU, I have found that professors who possess these three qualities are few and far between. It is so unfortunate that these educators do not take full advantage of positively impacting the lives they serve, as these professionals have the perfect opportunity to do so. If a professor lacks a burning passion for their job, how can students be expected to have a burning desire to learn? Teachers fail to provide an open, engaging learning environment, doing just enough to get by. Dr. Troyer has been an exception to this common teaching practice. She exhibited great passion and excitement in being in class each day, which ultimately brought her class to life. Dr. Troyer provided a learning environment where students’ thoughts and opinions were always encouraged, and most importantly, where students felt like their voices actually mattered. From the very first day of class, her love for her profession was apparent in her practices and the relationship she formed with her students. Through her humble nature, empathetic demeanor, and loving behavior, Dr. Troyer modeled the epitome of an effective teacher and how to effectively serve others.

  52. Taylor Crawford says:

    Dr. Troyer,
    I agree that these 3 main qualities is the key to being a successful educator. I like how you used Empathy becasue as a teacher you have to be able to understand your students and what they may be facing outside the classroom as well. All students are capable of being successful, but what they face elsewhere can cause them to doubt themselves. Humility plays a big part in my highschool career because I felt like I wasn’t free to express myself or engage how I wanted too because my school was so focused on rules. I felt humiliated literally every class I went too, because all teachers acted the same. Love is the most important part, because when a student feels like you care about them and who they are as a individual they will perform better in class. Dr. Troyer I can say that you definitely taught your heart out even though you are leaving after this semester. I felt really good knowing that we were a great group of students to you. Love from you was like motivation to do your best and you could do anything you put your mind too. This blog was very inspirational to me as I prepare myself to be a future teacher.

  53. Star Brown says:

    While reading this blog, I couldn’t help but think back to my undergraduate professors and think if any of them possessed these qualities. For the most part the answer is no. There was one professor who thoroughly enjoyed teaching and brought excitement and passion for what he was teaching. He also showed humility in the way he discussed the road to get him in his position. From the first day of class he stated that he was not hung up on names and we could call him Dr., Mr., or just Paul. He made all of his classes, no matter the topic, interesting. He was a good professor; however, he was not very empathetic or loving. He had strict rules and made sure to enforce them. He would embarrass the crap out of you if and when he felt the need to do so. I know that this aspect of him is what hindered me and some other students from participating more openly or asking more questions during class. Had he possessed more empathy and love I’m sure I would have enjoyed his class much more. Interning in schools allows me to see a lot of different teachers with a lot of different personalities and teaching styles. I definitely believe that the ones who show humility, empathy and love are able to create lasting relationships with students that foster respect, understanding , and just genuine care. Throughout our conditions of learning class I have seem all of these qualities come into play. Humility was shown from the beginning just by telling stories from your past and also by saying that you care about how we feel about things. Empathy was shown numerous times as we talked about exams, quizzes, and class material and you wanted to know what we didn’t understand. I would have to say that the class with just the girls was filled with love for the field of education and future plans to grow and expand on that.

  54. Derrick D. Jones says:

    The three traits that are mentioned in this blog are overlooked very often in the classroom. To have empathy and love are the two most important components, in my opinion. These two characteristics increases the passion given in any situation. When in a classroom setting, the qualities an instructor gives off, is often times given back. The passion that a teacher gives means so much to a student. It intensifies the whole lesson and gives off a sense of “MY TEACHER CARES.” While student teaching, I made it a priority to practice these qualities with my students, and will continue to do this in the future. I love my students and love what I do.

  55. Star Brown says:

    While reading this post, I found myself thinking back to my undergraduate professors and thinking of those that possessed these qualities and those that did not. I could not think of one that possessed all three. One sticks out in my mind that thoroughly enjoyed what he did and delivered passionate lectures that I enjoyed. This professor also showed humility and told stories of his past and where he’d come from and was genuinely an interesting person. He told us from the beginning that he was not hung up on titles so we could call him Dr., Mr., or just Paul. However, he was not very empathetic and meant business in his class and would embarrass a student without hesitation if and when he felt the need to do so. That aspect of his demeanor is what prevented me and other students from being more active in class discussions. I understand how including the aspects of empathy and love are needed in order to create an atmosphere of cohesion and collaboration so that students and feel comfortable with learning and sharing their voice. Had he been more empathetic and loving, I might have enjoyed his classes even more. Throughout our conditions of learning class I have seen all of these aspects come through at some point. Humility was shown during many conversations as you talked about past ventures to get where you are and the difficulties faced. Numerous times you have shown empathy and concern while trying to understand problems faced on a quiz, test, or just going over material in class. I would have to say the discussion in class about future plans definitely showed a sense of love for education and a common bond within the classroom. Being in the schools and seeing so many different teaching styles I can say that those teachers that appear to possess these qualities are able to educate students and maintain lasting relationships and positive impacts.

  56. Joey Inlow says:

    Humility is an extremely important aspect in good teaching. Teachers that do not believe they are ever wrong and have learned everything there is to know will never truly make an impact as an educator. Hubris is the only term that can describe this type of teacher. Students should feel like they are active learners in the classroom, and know that they are capable of finding their own answers. Teachers that are the sole providers of information, do an incredible disservice to their profession, because it prevents free-thought and active participation in the classroom. Empathy is a necessary evil in the teaching profession, but sometimes in my opinion, teachers are too empathetic. I am not saying that teachers should not be flexible, but a teacher that constantly bends to the whims of their students will lose control of their classroom. I really do enjoy all of my students. I would not go so far as to say that I love any of them because love is such a strong word. Sometimes people use the word too loosely in my opinion. However, I do appreciate all of my students and will miss them when I am done at Lowndes but I do not love them. This article presents the multiple reasons why teachers find their profession truly fulfilling.

  57. Summer Anderson says:

    I agree that these three traits are often over looked by educators. I especially like how you point out the negative effects on students, such as being afraid to ask questions. I have observed this first hand. As a student, I, too, was often afraid to ask questions for fear of being ridiculed – not by other students but by the teacher. The simple act of making yourself more human, of not being so arrogant, can help eliminate student fears and allow them to really open up in your classroom. Figuring out what students do not understand can help us become better educators. Genuinely loving and caring for your students is a big part of teaching. Most of us do not go into teaching for the money, but rather to help others, to inspire a new generation. What better way to inspire students than to show them how to care for and love one another? Many students will flourish in your classroom if they know you actually care. It is the little things like asking about their weekend, going to an extra-curricular event, or simply writing comments on their work.

  58. Shandel Davies says:

    Dr. Troyer,
    I found The Art of Instruction extremely insightful and truthful. I cannot remember how many times I have come across teachers who think too highly of themselves and shows no empathy towards their own students. These teachers did not contain these most essential attributes that teachers should have, humility, empathy and love. I have realized that you contain these attributes and many more and that’s what makes you such a great teacher. I joined your class because of another student bragging about how good you were and how much they learned in your class previously. You are a Doctorate, but you don’t look down upon your students. I have seen too many professors that do this, and they lose respect from their students because they are not showing humility, empathy, and definitely not love for the subject or their students. You definitely have shown humility, empathy and love. I noticed this from day one, you are not like the others, one in a million. I am excited to come to your class every day and learn more not only just about educational psychology but also about life, myself, and different ways of thinking. I have learned from you that just because I see a situation or problem one way, it does not mean another person is seeing it in the same perspective as me, and the same as another person, not seeing the other’s perspective as theirs and so on. Every one views situations, issues, teaching, learning, and many more things in so many different perspectives. I have also wanted to be a teacher and being in this class has reaffirmed that this is where I belong. This article has also gave insight on how I need to present myself to my students and to show humility, empathy, and most of all love towards my students, like you have to us. You said the other day in class, “We are here to encourage and inspire brilliance”. I cannot agree with you more on this statement. I am here to make a difference, encourage, and inspire students to do better, be better, and the best they can be.

  59. Jasmine Rozier says:

    I agree with this article one hundred percent! I believe that a teacher should not only wear their profession as their title, but as something they love to do. Dr. Troyer you have demonstrated this trait from the inside out. You came into class standing six feet and then some ready to teach as well as eager to learn more about our class. You gave us a reason to look forward to 2 o’clock every Monday and Wednesday with your stories and constant examples to magnify the lessons for that particular day. Although I sat quietly in the back row, I enjoyed when you went around to every student to hear what they felt on different topics and just to make sure everyone had understood the subjects we were touching on. Your love for teaching is outstanding! Chances that other teachers wouldn’t dare care about giving students, you gave us. Your humility is greatly appreciated as well as your concern for our well being. I hope to possess the above traits that I’ve also witnessed in you one day when I begin my teaching career. I thank you for seeing the potential in our class that you did.

  60. Davinique Taylor says:

    From the first day you walked into class I knew you would not be an ordinary teacher. You came in guns blazing and I fell in love with your teaching methods instantly. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover but human nature compels us too. You were loud, energetic and refused to let students sit quietly. At first it bothered me. Most of my college professors before you did not enjoy there jobs and you could see it through their teaching. But not you. You encouraged us to speak our minds without fear of being ridiculed. You encouraged us to think outside the box and to never conform. You often told us that you believe you were meant to have our class for your last semester hear, well I believe we were meant to have you. You embody each of these qualities as a teacher. You are not arrogant. You understand that even as a teacher you still have so much more to learn and are willing to allow your students to teach you. You empathize with your students by giving them examples from your life to illustrate yourself as a human being who goes through each and every one of the struggles many of us have faced. This shows your love for us as you strive to make each of us better individuals not solely through our academic achievements but through our achievements throughout our lives. I thank you for being an amazing teacher this semester.

  61. Lesley M. McCall says:

    I think you said it all. This article tells exactly what you obviously live by to teach your students. Your humility was shown from the first day of class. From your confident spirit to your passion for the subject, you caught my interest and attention for the subject and class. I have never been a student to say much in class, but the environment you set in our class made me feel unencumbered, and you never made disparaging remarks when our answers were incorrect.
    I could definitely see the empathy you had for each one of us throughout this semester. At times, you would answer a question we had and see that we still did not understand, so you would get on our level and explain it through life examples or in different words. You always encouraged us and always “kept it real” for us, and that showed that you truly understood what we were going through as students.
    I will never forget the care and love you showed to our class. It will always stay with me throughout my life and in my future career. The caring spirit you showed us makes me want to show that same spirit to my students and other people in the future. And because of the love you have for your students, you always wanted to help us in every way possible. Not only did you help us learn the class material, but you also gave us “teachable moments” which I will always cherish and use for the rest of my life. Just like your teaching methods, the article demonstrates and describes the humility and passion you have for your students and your calling in your career.

  62. Marcus Green says:

    Dr. Troyer,

    I cannot agree with you more on three areas you have touched upon. The teachers that I have had in the past that exhibited these three qualities were classes where I excelled, retained and transferred the information, and was able to look back and really feel like it made a large impression. The one teacher that I had that has made the largest impression on my life my third grade teacher. My teacher exhibited all three qualities and as you write “has a sense of magic and wonder that is almost palpable when we experience someone truly caring about us.” She really cared about our success, empathized with our personal lives, and loved us like we were her own children.

    I also agree with Jody Harbin, students just need you take your time. This is how we understand that you care about our learning and not just working to meet and end.

  63. Cory McCracken says:

    I enjoyed this post. I agree that humility, empathy and love are essential parts of a being a good teacher. I try to be all of these things to my students because I know that many of them face obstacles far worse than what I can imagine some days. I believe if students sense that their teacher cares for them, those students are willing to do what is asked of them on a more regular basis and may form a better connection with the importance of education. More so, I believe if students feel that their teacher(s) are humble, empathetic, and loving towards them, these students can learn a valuable lesson in what it means to be humble, empathetic, and loving.

  64. Kalen Grant says:

    I cannot disagree with any part of your blog and I appreciate that it is very straightforward. Teaching is an art and with all artists, it takes prerequisite skills and practice to master the profession. It also takes a special person who demonstrates humility, empathy, and love. As a teacher for the past six years, I struggle the most with empathy. It is difficult to understand troubled youth and why they continue to dig themselves in deeper holes. Often times, I catch myself struggling to understand how their background and personal experiences have shaped who they are today. As your post says, “one who has never taken the time to understand himself will not have the insight to understand others”.

    I’m glad you included this quote, “once one has realized advanced degrees, high IQ, and lofty positions and titles make one no better than anyone else one has the ability to see others clearly”. Sometimes, it seems that higher education instructors feel entitled to treat students a certain way because they have their degree. I suppose this may be the case because teaching is only a portion of their job, but they should remember how they felt sitting in class. I will always remember one professor in undergrad who displayed all three and I remember thinking who odd it was that most professors were not so humble. He made me feel welcome and I was able to speak freely without having anxiety.

  65. Betsy Jones says:

    In our current climate of high-stakes testing, state-created teacher accountability, and rigorous nationally-normed instructional standards, the actual art of teaching is often lost. With the growing pressure of the upcoming EOCT, the ever-present Teacher Keys Effectiveness System, and my end-of-program graduate school classes I’m regularly overwhelmed with curriculum jargon, standards progressions, instructional best practices, differentiation tools, unit maps, and learning goals. Lately, I have forgotten that this vocation used to be an avocation and that my goals as a teacher used to involve more inspiration and motivation (and a lot less perspiration). These last few weeks, I’ve found myself thinking to myself, “I don’t care,” or “I’m ready to get out of here,” or “I’ve had enough.” I’ve rarely expressed these thoughts out loud (and only in private, adult-only company) and I know that they stem from the post-Spring Break, end-of-year “push.” I am a very new teacher and am afraid of burning out too quickly. This discussion on humility, empathy, and love is a bright spot in my otherwise rainy Friday afternoon. I cannot forget that I came to this profession out of love for learning and care for people. Although I pride myself in my content knowledge, I am never satisfied with what I know and don’t know. I try to read, question, learn, and grow daily—modeling that process actively for my students and professional peers. Even when I am frustrated about the outcome of a lesson or the performance of a class, I am the first to try and figure out why it didn’t work and how I can better reach them. Talking to my students, listening to what they want to tell or ask me, and sharing my personal experience is rarely a check-box on an evaluation or a test but it’s a daily goal. I don’t want to lose sight of the relationship building and teachable moments because I have to cover the content by the end of the week. The love I have for my job and my students is often intertwined with stress and doubt, worry and frustration. My passion for this profession burns off too quickly some days and I’m left with fumes. But as I sit at my desk, I can look up and read the sweetest emails from one of my 5th period students. She seems to know when I’m running low; an “I love you and your class” email seems appear in my inbox on days I need it most.

  66. William Pierce says:

    I agree with everything in this article. I strive to keep my classroom as positive as I can. Students are encouraged to question the “facts” that are often presented in history textbooks. Every class calls for students to try to answer questions that do not have a definitive answer. It is very enjoyable to hear the kids’ opinions rather than reciting factual information from the textbook.

  67. Sherie V says:

    Very insightful, Dr. Troyer. As teachers are meant to be the authority in a classroom, that should extend to their demeanor and professionalism mainly. Classrooms are not meant to be ruled, but should be like communities where the teacher leads in a non-totalitarian way. The human emotions can become left out when one has a narrow idea of teaching, but it is good to get a reminder that teachers are not meant to be un-relatable robots. I try to remember my school years and always see myself as a student even though it won’t be in the traditional sense for much longer. If teachers model these behaviors outlined here, I don’t see how they (or I) could wrong in the classroom!

  68. Leigh Jackson says:

    I was celebrating as I read this article because I knew from my heart that it was written by the hand of a real teacher. Not real, as in you do exist, but by one that innately “gets it”. No amount of classwork or discussion will cause a passion like this to rise up. It requires a fire that will not be extinguished to understand humility in it’s greatest form. Acknowledging that you haven’t arrived also and still don’t know everything is an attribute of a great leader. Taking time, that often you are not compensated for to listen, understand and feel what your student feels can be wearing and taxing, but leads to great strides when it comes to trusting that what you say is truth. People can sense when you love them and love what you do. One’s passion is obvious if it is really passion and it spreads like a creeping grass. Quietly and subtly, one day you will see those that are following you just because of who you are.

  69. Renita Luck says:

    Too many times in academia the job overtakes the passion. We can be overloaded with committee work, research, advising, and all of the other thousands of things that pull us away from teaching to the point where we forget the joy and passion that called us to the profession in the first place. We should never presume to know another’s motives or struggles, but too often teachers project assumptions upon students and this projection continues to cause a steady decline in drive and creativity for the instructor. Humility, empathy, and love are the only hope to recapture our passion and to tap back into our first love and the energy, enthusiasm and creativity that accompanied it. We should never presume that someone else’s path is the same as the one we traveled, or that someone else’s ability to cope is the same as ours. Remembering that we are the same as those we teach, just perhaps a little further down the path, and that we too will struggle again and need the empathy and love of others should drive us to be the type of teacher that touches and changes lives – passing on value and worth along with knowledge.

  70. Haley Smith says:

    Dr. Troyer,
    As a future educator, these are three of the main qualities I hope to possess. Throughout my practicum experiences in the classroom, I have been made aware of the importance of these qualities. Teachers suffer from burn out or are satisfied in their methodology of instruction and do not wish to change. I also reflect on my college experiences. In the education program, we are taught to care and nurture our students, but how are we supposed to do so when this is no modeled for us?

    I once was reminded of the quote “They will never care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I want to be the 2nd grade teacher that sticks out in students’ minds once they have gone to college. It is my goal to display humility, empathy, and love to my students so that we can each perform to the best of our abilities and have a productive and smooth school year. Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom.

  71. Jody Harbin says:

    It is so refreshing to read academic criticism/commentary from this humanist viewpoint. It seems that all-too-often these basics get lost in the mire of standards and bureaucracy. I’m certain that 99% of teachers would say that they got into the profession to serve others. I believe this is the ultimate sign of humility (and the superiority complex of some in the field boggles my mind). It has been a near-constant onslaught of negativity towards teachers/teaching as of late, and this has been rather discouraging as a soon-to-be-graduate. However, the commentary from people who truly “get it” and the students and parents that are grateful makes all of the negativity fade from memory. I think we (future educators) would all do well to remember that we are all on this path together. As someone who loves to travel, I always fall back on the classic journey/education metaphor. Working off of this framework, I will never reach a “finish line” and that is just fine with me. I have spent the past few days attending classes alongside 9th-11th graders in various subjects, and I really feel that this message of the “lifetime learner” is an important one to send to the students. I think the students really value what I say when I have humbled myself and attended classes alongside them (granted, I don’t have to take the tests!). Finally, concerning love and empathy, I will say that I have seen some truly generous and caring behavior on the part of students towards teachers and one another while I have been interning with the MAT program. In the midst of so much criticism aimed at the younger generation, my experience in the classroom has shown that this is the same unfounded lament that older generations have probably spouted since the beginning of time (kids today). Thanks to the time and effort of well-meaning parents and educators, I think the kids are gonna be just fine. It seems that students don’t need you to be perfect, they just need you to take the time.

  72. LeAnn Yager says:

    I thouroughly enjoyed this read! I do agree with many of the points you make. I do feel that being humble (no matter what you have in your bag;)) is key to a student’s success. Student’s do not want to feel put down or degraded in any way esp. when it comes to their learning. Being a student and a teacher, I can understand this concept. If there isn’t humility on the part of the teacher then the student can feel embarassment esp when they do not know the answers or they feel too scared to even ask. So I most definately agree with you! I also believe that empathy and love is very very important esp for the students that are not so accepting (if ya get my drift)). I believe that when a teacher displays these two (empathy and love) that other students see this as well and that can go far from just being a witness to this kindness. I know for myself receiving empathy, understanding and love (esp if I am going through a hard time or have a had a rough day) it means THE WORLD to me. So I could not agree more. I won’t say that I don’t have bad days as a soon to be school counselor, mom, wife, daughter or sister but I do quickly realize that the empathy and love I can (I know I can display) may make the day or even the week of one of my student’s.

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