A female faculty member coaches a male student working at a computer from behind, while another male student looks on

Becoming an authentic educator: Parker Palmer, in Courage to Teach, talks extensively about finding the authentic self as a teacher. It is essential that teaching faculty regularly engage in reflection and continuously increase their own capacity to become an excellent guide to each student in their learning journey to find their purpose and to fulfill their potential.

Teaching at Champlain College

Champlain College is a teaching college. This means that faculty stay current in their fields, but focus most of their time and attention on building strong relationships with students, teaching and advising the “whole person”.

Teaching is an art and a science. While some people may possess a natural aptitude for teaching, one is not born an authentic educator. Rather, it is someone you become with effort over time. For those committed to their own professional development, we can offer an energizing start to your journey toward becoming an excellent and authentic educator.

Your Teaching Philosophy

Horizontal arrow connecting three stages: explore your philosophy of teaching, set goals and engage in learning opportunities, and reflect on your teaching & learning

To become an authentic teacher, you must begin by exploring your teaching philosophy. Like a good strategic plan, a thoughtful philosophy of education can anchor, ground and guide your choices to ensure your desired outcomes.Your genuine beliefs about yourself, others and the purpose of education informs your course design, approach to content delivery, the learning experiences, assessment practices, and policies. Great teachers are clear, concise and consistent. When you intentionally align your core beliefs with your expectations of yourself, your students, the course materials, activities and the cultural climate of the classroom, you will approach your work with confidence. Understanding your teaching philosophy affords you a sense of freedom to be intuitive, flexible and creative during inevitable unexpected teaching moments. When your whole syllabus aligns with who you are and what you believe, you develop a powerful synergy in the classroom. You enter a genuine relationship with your students. A positive student-teacher relationship contributes to student success.

Continuous Growth

Another important mindset of an authentic educator is continuous improvement. Authentic educators acknowledge their need to keep learning. They seek to understand how people learn and desire to hone their craft and innovate. The best teachers recognize that education has a long history and many legitimate approaches. You can invest in your professional development by doing the following: Explore the classical “-isms” of educational philosophy and ideologies. Learn all you can about the many cultural approaches to learning. Find an education journal, a blog or podcast that you like. Attend learning and teaching workshops and conferences.Talk with students and colleagues about their experiences. Set goals for yourself. Try new techniques. Improve a little each year.


Finally, authentic educators invite feedback and regularly reflect on their thinking, learning and teaching. One of the most effective steps you can take in your teaching development is to create space, time and a system of reflective practice to challenge everything your pedagogy assumes. You can start by asking yourself tough questions such as:  How you are showing up in the classroom and why? What is working and what is not working? 


If you would like to talk with someone about where you are in your teaching journey, make an appointment with us!

You can also explore the CLT’s events calendar for more opportunities, and engage with other faculty in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.