Depending on your goals as a student, your instructors’s educational background or work-force experience can enlighten your college experience or bore you to tears.
What your college instructor’s background is can have an influence in your education and what you might do after college, but how much your instructor cares about teaching has the ultimate impact.
When I was 17-years-old, I spent a few weeks during my summer break at Cambridge University with my grandma. Part of the experience she wanted to share with me included staying in the dorms and eating in the dining hall. One morning during breakfast, she asked me to stop and take a moment to notice my surroundings: the ancient building that had housed the world of learning for centuries and the students who were nibbling on their toast while diligently studying.
This is part of the world of academia, she said.
For the student who wants to thrive in the world of academia, having an instructor who has climbed the ranks, so to speak, is beneficial. An instructor who can give guidance in ways to conduct meaningful and credible research, thesis writing and the best way to go before the academic counsel in defense of one’s research is solid gold. Why? Because that instructor has done it before.
For a student who wants to teach at a college level or conduct research at a university, having instructors with advanced degrees guiding the way is essential.
Alternatively, if a student is seeking a degree in a more skill-set area of study, it is optimal to have instructors who have on-site experience. In my digital design classes, my instructors give us assignments that pertain to scenarios that one may encounter when working with clients. They also share stories of when projects have gone awry and how the problem was solved.
Many areas of the job market are quickly evolving, especially in careers relying on technology. An instructor who works in those fields can keep up with, and share with students how the field is changing and how to implement the changes into the students’ school work.
When working outside the world of academia, an instructor knows the “ins and outs” of an industry, has most likely experienced set-backs and can teach students how to avoid such issues.
I have found the instructor who has an impact on students has to be intuitive to students’ needs, able to communicate with a variety of learning styles, and really cares about what he or she is teaching.
Both categories of instructors will have formed a network that connects to his or her area of expertise. That network can benefit students by offering opportunities that help with research projects and internships. Students also benefit from listening to intriguing guest speakers that instructors invite to class.
In my educational experience, I have noticed both types of instructors have influenced my learning. For now, I am excited to get out into work-world, but I would eventually like to get my advanced degrees and teach at a university.
In the end, the world of academia is my home. I blame my grandma’s influence.