Classroom comradery

This week, I had the opportunity to spend an entire day training the managers from one college’s admissions office. We’ve spent a lot of time at Collegewise developing our management philosophy, training and programming, and I was really excited about the opportunity to share it. But I also had some trepidation. Professional development sessions can be tricky. You don’t know the people, the dynamics, or the particular challenges they’re facing. In fact, you don’t even know if the audience actually wants to be there, as they’re often not given the choice.

But almost within the first five minutes, it was clear this group showed up happy to be there and eager to learn. They asked great questions. They were open and honest about the challenges they’re facing. They even asked if we could stay an extra hour to talk about how they could best start implementing what we’d just spent the day covering.

And that attitude, that eagerness, that willingness to lean in and do their part to extract value from the time they were spending created an important transformation: it made me a better presenter. Their energy refueled my energy throughout the nine hours we spent together. Both sides giving so much created a classroom comradery, a feeling that we were in this together and committed to making it count.

It’s tempting for students to evaluate their educational experiences based only on the teacher. But that’s only one side of the learning equation. What are you bringing and sharing when you show up? What are you doing to create that classroom comradery? How are you coaxing even more benefit?

Here are two past posts on how to do just that, one about things teachers notice about you, and another about the intangible elements of classroom performance. I hope they help you create more classroom comradery and benefit even more from the time you’re spending learning.