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Teaching Style - Why I can't be Mr. Clark

Just as everyone has their own learning style, everyone has their own teaching style as well.  When I was in high school I loved the way Mr. Clark taught and I thought I could be just like him.  How very wrong I was; I know this because I tried.  I walked into my first teaching job ready to take on any challenge (I thought).  I was not ready.  I hated teaching and by the end of year one I was ready to give up and look for a career change.  But, I persevered and learned a lot about who I was and who I could be as a teacher.

Formal Authority

This is the style Mr. Clark had and I loved it.  He was in charge but the students respected him.  This teaching style is more teacher-centered and tends to focus on content.  The teacher is responsible for providing and controlling the flow of content and the students’ job is to receive the content.

This is how I thought I wanted to teach as I needed to feel that sense of authority.  Because I was 22 and teaching high school students, I was not much older than some of them.  I felt like I needed to get in there and gain immediate control and respect.  But we all know that respect is not given, it is earned.  And I had not started out by earning the respect of the students.

Demonstrator or Personal Model

Because I am an English teacher I did not feel like this style suited the content of my courses.  This style of teaching tends to be teacher-centered wherein the teacher demonstrates skills and processes and then acts as a coach while the student apply the skills.  To me this seemed more like a math/science approach.


The demonstrator or model likes to encourage students to participate and they try to include various learning styles in the way they present.  The students are to take some responsibility for their own learning and ask for help when they need it.



The facilitator likes to focus on activities and emphasize student-centered learning.  More responsibility for learning is placed on the students and they must learn to meet the demands of their learning tasks.


Students who are independent learners respond well to this teaching style.  They are fine working on their own but they also participate in class and work collaboratively with others.

The facilitator designs group activities where students need to participate in their own learning.  The activities will require students to apply their knowledge and show the learned content in creative and original ways. 

This style fits with my subject and content area well and I feel that this is the way I teach much of the time.  However, this is not all there is to me….more on that in a minute.



The delegator places as much control and responsibility for learning on the students.  This was definitely not me to begin with as I needed to be in control.  If I gave an assignment it was to be completed the way I intended.  If a student asked to change an aspect of it my immediate response was no; changing it took the control away from me. 


Delegators give students choice and allow them to design their own learning projects that would be suited for their own learning style.  I have come to see that this is not a bad thing. 

This type of teacher will often give students a choice designing and implementing their own complex learning projects and will act in a consultative role.

So what kind of teacher am I?  I think like in anything, we take what we like and leave what we don’t and develop our own style.  Do I still like to maintain some control?  Yes!  Do I allow my students to come up with ideas of their own and explore the learning topics?  Yes!  Do I try to show the students how something is done and then let them do some learning through trial and error?  Yes!  And do I help the students as much as I can?  Yes!  No two teachers are the same and I would hate to think I was Mr. Clark but I am happy to say that I have a little bit of him in me and I thank him to this day for the influence he has had on my career.






Stephanie Barber 10.30.2016 0 144
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