Teaching Persona

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Beatrice:
When you teach, are you consciously a different self from the "real self" you have in non-teaching life?

I would be interested in posters' thoughts about this, and also in any good reading references on this topic.

Thank you.

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Another Boring Anon:
Yes.  When I am in front of a class, I am totally unflappable, unable to be embarrassed and both a smooth mover and talker--with jokes and charisma.  This is the result of practice with the material and real comfort that I know that I am doing and that I can meet whatever situation comes up in the classroom.  In real life, I am clumsy, anti-social and don't like disruptions.  Both of these people are me.

One of my recommendations described me as retiring and reserved, but then delivered the punchline, "but put her in front of a class and it is like flipping a switch!  Watch the fireworks start."

Student:
So Anon,

Are you naturally shy? I have a professor who is just like you: dynamic and entertaining in the classroom, anti-social and quiet in his office hours.

I'm just curious since he's one of my 'letter-of-recommendation' professor.
He just seems very reserved and shy once out of the classroom.

Another Boring Anon:
I'm not "shy" in the sense that I have social anxiety, or am hiding out in the office, I just don't like being very social.  I can be, and I certainly do all the stuff I need to get a checked box in the "collegial" column, but if it is a choice between reading quietly or hanging out chatting in the coffee room about someone's fishing trip, I would prefer to read.  When I teach, I get such a "charge" back that the performance I am giving pays for itself.  One-on-one social interactions, for me, don't deliver a charge and are tiring.   I am not the one in the office who feels the need to organize "nights out" or birthday parties or meetings with students outside the framework of class and office hours.  

I think that the "teaching persona" thing is a lot like the stage performance of a celebrity singer--they're not like that 24/7.  You are seeing a kind of magnified version very different from what they look like and behave like if you catch them walking the dog at 6am.

Student:
Thanks so much. Now I know what to expect. I asked because one of my friends saw our professor walking outside on campus. He waved at my prof (because he seems such a congenial and funny guy in class), but the prof looked and never waved OR smiled back. That really hurt my friend's feelings. (!!)  As for me, well, he just seems anti-social outside the classroom (looking mean-scary in public or reading a newspaper walking).

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