Becoming a college professor (Clinical Assistant Professor to be exact) has been one of the most significant experiences of my life. While teaching future social workers gives me a great deal of personal and professional satisfaction, my gig has also illuminated for me how different the ‘college experience’ is now, as compared to when I was earning my undergraduate degree (circa 1985). A lot has changed.
Many of the students in my classes are what some have termed ‘non-traditional’, meaning they are often middle-aged or older, working, and/or taking care of a family. Aside from non-traditional and returning students, Millenials and a whole new generation of online learners also present with their own sets of specialized needs. As one might expect, some modification is necessary to meet all of them where they are at. More importantly, instructors must try to assist in the facilitation of some much-needed balance in their students’ lives…at least if they want any learning to go on.
Student came to class today with his child due to no babysitter or anybody to watch her while he was in class.
My professor NATHAN ALEXANDER said “I’ll hold her so you can take good notes!” #HBCU #morehouse #Respect pic.twitter.com/oogIqetseS
— TheOriginal™ (@Original_Vaughn) March 1, 2019
This Twitter post about Professor Nathan Alexander is a perfect example of these very concepts. Sometimes, traditional perspectives of what goes on within a brick-and-mortar classroom don’t quite ‘fit’ and some innovation and—yes—adaptiveness need to be implemented. You are my hero, Professor Alexander!
GMP would like to hear from all of you that participate in this crazy thing we call ‘higher education’ and get a better understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and what you are still ‘on the fence’ about. If you need a little extra push to get that pen of yours furiously scorching across white paper, here are some prompts to consider:
• Who was the most amazing instructor (high school teachers count, too) you have ever had in your life? Why?
• What has your experience as a non-traditional student been like, balancing career, family, education, and personal life?
• Based on your hopes and dreams for the future of education, what changes would you like to see implemented in the modern college classroom? Why?
• What lessons have you learned from your students? (This one is for the instructors out there!)
What did you learn from it all that you can share with other readers? (Be sure to include your “AHA!” moment!)
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