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I think some of this is the baggage that students bring to their perception of me (e.g.I went to a prestigious university for graduate school--I don't bring this up, but students find out and it can become a barrier).I wouldn't worry about it unless your quantitative evaluations are below departmental average. I think students want you to be "intimidating" and approachable simultaneously.If you are not "intimidating" enough, they would criticize you for not being enough of an expert.And that includes going to bat for them with administrators and people who run programs intended to help students, but who don't seem to actually want to do it.
I think I need your help becoming MORE intimidating. Try to be the best-dressed person in your classroom. Speak as though you know exactly what you’re talking about.
All that being said, if students' perceptions of me is getting in the way of their learning, and I can do some low cost things to improve those perceptions and thus improve their learning, then I think I have an obligation to seek out and try those things.
I teach in the social sciences, usually in the upper levels, but I've taught the full range. I am from the Northeast, so my humor is a bit dry and self-deprecating. I've actually had several students comment something along the lines of "he's actually really funny if you pay attention."I think non-forced smiling can go a long way.
I am looking for some advice on how to come across as less intimidating to students. My students often (though not always) seem to pick up on the fact that I genuinely care about them and want them to really learn in my courses (not the norm at my university).
My courses aren't easy, but I offer lots of support and help along the way.Not so much that they think you’re incompetent but enough to know that you’re human and make mistakes! Control the classroom environment as much as possible.