Sincerity + Competence = Trust
Teachers are in the sales business. Plain and simple- we're selling life-long learning, and inspiration is our currency. In sales and marketing there is a formula for building trust and it is: sincerity + competence = trust. So before we earn anybody's trust, we must establish these two foundations. Here is a sample of some questions students might ask in order to establish whether sincerity and competence are available:
Do I like you? Can you teach physics effectively? (or whatever subject you teach)
Do you like me? Can you teach it at AP level?
Are you going to help me? How well do your former students perform at college?
Will you help my classmates? How many of your former students have graduated in physics?
Are you fair in your evaluations? Will your exams and assignments prepare me for the AP exam?
Do you have integrity? From what university did you graduate? What was your major?
Do you value family? What was your grade point average in college?
How important are relationships? How difficult is it to get an A in your class?
Are you interested in me as a person? Can you help me get into the college I want to get into?
Guess which side students want you to establish first? Well, you might be surprised to find that some will need your competence established first, then the sincerity, while others need sincerity first. That is why we need to understand our students and get to know who they are and what they need. One thing is undeniable- in order for them to learn from you, they need to be able to trust you. In order to earn their trust you need to demonstrate both sincerity and competence. Teaching is the greatest sales job in the world.
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Dan and Amy Allen are Educators and Advocates for Students.