Name: Rick Sheridan
School: Wilberforce University
Subject: Journalism, Communications
What or who inspired you to become a teacher?
Both of my parents were teachers. My father was a professor of economics, and my mother was a remedial reading teacher.
How are things different for you now, compared to when you first started teaching?
I am much more relaxed and focused. I am able to do effective lesson planning and delivery.
What advice would you give to a new or struggling teacher?
Your attitude is the first thing students see when you walk in the room. Students care about four main things: your enthusiasm for the subject, your knowledge of the subject, whether you care about them, and your level of focus and organization.
Avoid an unnecessary adrenaline rush--prepare well enough that you can trust yourself to perform in the moment and make continuous corrections as needed. Think of teaching as an expanded conversation--use stories, comparisons, examples and illustrations to get your point across.
A year from now, what do you want them to know? This is what you should focus on.
Be consistent with your grading and classroom discipline. Enjoy the students; they really are the consumers. Not being prepared cheats our students. Not having office hours or being unavailable shows a lack of respect for students. Students should have a sense that you love your profession and enjoy sharing it with them.
My best day in the classroom was when…
I taught (several computer workshops) for 10 hours in one day and still felt refreshed at the end.
The best compliment I ever received was...
Here is a comment that a student sent me:
Dr. Sheridan is truly dedicated to making students prepared for print journalism. During my time at Wilberforce University, I was a student in several of Dr. Sheridan’s classes and was extremely grateful for his transparent teaching methods and candid approach to ensuring that I became a better writer and owner of my craft. I still utilize many of the things I learned in Dr. Sheridan’s classes in my career and everyday life and recognize his ability to impact those with his passion for journalism.
What's your favorite part of the school year?
Probably the first month of the school year--lots of energy and enthusiasm from the students and staff.
What is your one must-have item for the classroom?
My list of tips (see above).
What do you eat for breakfast on school days?
Cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit.
What movie or TV show do you secretly love?
"Keeping Up Appearances" (British comedy)
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