Hitting Your Sweet Spot: The Fine Balance of Being Flexible

Credit: iStock.com/Andy Roberts
Credit: iStock.com/Andy Roberts

Do students consider you a “hard-ass”? If so, is that a bad thing? Rigor may have its benefits, but there may just be a sweet spot, the right amount of flexibility, that is optimal for teaching and learning. Here are some considerations for finding your balance.

The before times and after

When I first started teaching over 20 years ago, there was little discussion of flexibility or compassionate teaching. If there was, I missed it. Colleagues told me to be firm or be taken advantage of. Mentors told me I should not be too nice, as students would think I was their friend and not take class as seriously. I set fixed deadlines and clear penalties if the deadlines were missed.

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