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Administrative Issues Journal

Authors

Dan Shepherd

Abstract

Recent research concludes that student-teacher relationships are foundational for greater instructional effectiveness and its concomitant increase in overall student achievement or learning. Similarly, research seems to demonstrate conclusively that trust is a vital component in the development of strong relationships. Recently, 488 current participants and recent graduates of an online and blended Master of Education program were surveyed about their perceptions of their instructors’ character and concern for them as individuals. Survey respondents were public school teachers. Based on the survey’s results, the personal qualities and characteristics that graduate students most seem to prefer in their instructors when determining their own evaluation of that professor’s character and integrity include the following: interacting with students as individuals, remembering individual student needs, and acting consistently in a compassionate manner. The data indicate that students are much less “impressed” by what a professor may claim about integrity or compassion. Conversely, the qualities and characteristics that most damage a graduate instructor’s character in the eyes of his or her students include the following: acting in a manner that communicates a lack of concern for individual student needs; being disrespectful, rude, critical, uncaring, harsh toward the class; presenting biased attitudes; and declining to help students in obvious need.

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