Most of us trainers don’t really get to choose our students. Even if the trainer is involved with hiring and recruiting, great employees don’t always make for great trainees. Sometimes students come into the classroom not by choice either. I have a colleague that teaches anger management for prisoners at a detention centre. Talk about a tough crowd. But take a step into the day-to-day of a corporate environment. Eavesdrop in on the talk ’round the coffee pot when the “Diffusing Hostility” workshop or service training session goes on the schedule. The demotivation often comes with grumbled jokes and sighs.
Take a moment and dream about the best teaching experience you’ve had. Ask yourself, what makes a great student? If we could recipe the ideal learner and have them in our classroom, what ingredients would they have? Like a favourite meal at a favourite restaurant, what’s on the menu? Here’s my top five best student traits:
- A desire to learn and grow
- A desire to work toward betterness
- Being present and on time
- Getting the work done
- Attentive to the deeper meaning
- Engaged in the dialogue
- Participate with others, students and instructor
- Add their voice to the dialogue
- Come with a beginner’s mind
- Open to learning
We often hear about owning the seat of the teacher. Part of this is helping learners own the seat of the student. I love to train because I get fired up by the look and energy of learning in my students. It’s not just about learning how to diffuse hostility or use a cash register. It’s about reaching people to help them do something better. Or even more, inspiring them to give their best, even in the most everyday tasks. A great student is the gold star. Evidence of the love, time and commitment we trainers put into learning. As trainers we meet our student part way by giving our best to our students. We too embody the same traits we desire of our learners.