Do you have to love teaching to be a good teacher?

In a May 13, 2010 Chronicle article, Confessions of a Teacher, Gabriela Montell responds to a blog posting by a college instructor who admits to NOT loving teaching and who claims that one need not love teaching to be good or successful at it. I think many faculty members I have consulted with would probably agree. They care about teaching and strive to do it well, but they did not go into academia and take a job at a doctoral granting institution because their very favorite thing to do is teach. What’s interesting to me is the fact that so many people feel ashamed to admit this, even at a place like University Park. I think people who consult with faculty need to reassure them that teaching is a profession, that they don’t have to have a “calling” or to feel they were born to teach in order to be successful, and that they can become good teachers over time with practice and regular assessments. Isn’t that consistent with the best motivation theories of learning?

1 thought on “Do you have to love teaching to be a good teacher?


    I’m not up to speed on all the top motivational theories of learning, but we did encounter some interesting comments yesterday at the advising conference that relate to this.

    Cindy asked “Give us some examples of the WORST power point presentations you’ve experienced”. One audience member related an experience from her undergraduate years at PSU, where her professor, on day one, stated “I really don’t care about this class or how well any of you do in it”.

    I agree, a faculty member does not need to ‘love’ teaching to be a good teacher. I wouldn’t recommend taking the above approach either! As you stated above, teaching is a profession, and even if faculty dislike the teaching aspect of their role, it should be approached and treated with a professional’s attitude.

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