I’m subtle like a tarantula on a piece of angel food cake is subtle. In my element, I’m expressive, friendly, snarky, an oddball, a data-omnivore, helpful and imaginative. My sense of humor gets the better of me sometimes. I have a lot of personality, and I’m not afraid to use it.
Every teacher comes to their teaching persona in one way or another. Before becoming a teacher, I slummed around the world of business. Let me tell you: the (conservative) business world doesn’t care for employees with “character”. Mostly, they want you to keep your head down, do your work and not steal all of the office supplies. Learning to blend in is a survival technique.
I like working in a job where having a personality is an asset rather than a drawback.
As a student, my two favorite types of teacher were those I characterized as “a genius from another dimension” and “scary as hell”. Which is to say, I liked to be entertained, engaged, and to have my assumptions challenged. I learned a few very important lessons listening to those instructors. People will rise to the level of expectations, so setting a low expectations isn’t a good idea. I also learned that there are multiple approaches to problems, and innovation can sometimes be messy. Also, I learned that colorblind instructors can dress REALLY funny sometimes.
A big piece of teaching is engaging the students. Whether this is accomplished with entertainment, with fear or respect (like my “scary” teachers) or with activating a person’s self-interest, engagement is a necessary before we can convey any information to a student. Knowing which way you can engage with your students before hand is helpful.
It is a good idea to develop your teaching persona. And don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Me? I’ll wear my Darth Vader tie and write offbeat story problems.