As both an educator and a student, I have seen my fair share of effective and not so effective educators. I had identified a few traits that I believe make extremely effective educators and facilitators. First, educations should be open to talk to students. In other words, they should have open office hours and invite students to talk to them. For example, I have this economics professor who has open office hours twice a week from 1-4 pm, but when we talk we usually talk until 5 or 6 pm- or when someone needs him. I also had another educator, a Dean of College, who despite his job demands was- and still is- willing to make time for me if I just wanted to talk or give him suggestions on how to improve the university’s rankings. He replies about 80 to 90 percent of my e- mails too- very good for a Dean!
Second, going along with my first point, opening themselves to students is not enough, but they must listen and not interject after every comment the student makes. Thank goodness, I have never experienced such an educator. Both the Dean and the economics teacher listened to me with out interjections.
Third, a good educator should adapt to the situation when conducting a one on one. Does the student want to vent and tell their sappy story, like I do sometimes to my economic professor? If so, let them vent and comfort them with kind suggestions and personal experiences to tell the student they are not alone. This trick will usually do. However, if the student wants some hard-core talk and advice, this is probably not the way to approach things. Perhaps try what a Resident Director, who happens to be one of my mentors, did. He gave me sound advice when I needed it. I learned from him to not to be afraid to fail, not it live in the past and wonder “what if”, and to expect and adapt to change!
Lastly, really good educators must have a ‘can do attitude’ and install that onto their students. In other words, they will encourage their students to reach for the moon and tell their students that they can pursue their passion and give them resources to do so. Though most educators I have had do install hope and positivism- I can tell you, some have just shot me down. I would love to end with a quote by the Resident Director mentioned above that sums up what a good educator is, “remember stay positive and focus on the present and future, you are a smart kid, so don’t let comparing yourself to others get the best of you.”