After I dropped my papers and used a swear, a student said, "You're the coolest teacher I have, Dr. B, seriously." Because I swore? I mean, I am pretty awesome, and you're in for an amazing lecture once I pick all this
I've had professors who tried to be "cool" and it was embarrassing. I appreciated a professor who was smart, knowledgeable about the subject, and comfortable enough in their own skin to own their passions. If you think chemistry is dorky, you probably shouldn't stand up in front of 300 students and try to convince them chemistry isn't dorky. I love biology. I love ecology. I love agriculture. I could talk about them all
Sites like Rate My Professor allow students to give scores based on "easiness" or "hotness" instead of quality education parameters. Is this the way we pick our professors? I can't remember choosing science over art because I thought my bio prof was hotter than my art prof. In my case it was true, but that's not why I switched. What people don't appreciate is that educators get up in front of a classroom every single day, sometimes several times a day, and put themselves out there. It's only natural that we would seek approval from our audience. But seeking approval should not take precedent over facilitating the material.
It's intimidating enough to lecture to a large group of people. If I have to worry about which ones like me, I'm in trouble. If they like me, they might learn more, right? I disagree. Many students who fail my course take it over again with me, because they like me and don't want a different professor. Their affection for me had no bearing on their grade or their performance. So why seek their approval? Who is the better professor, the one who is more popular or the one who is more effective? If my students adore me but can't pass the post-test, then what does it matter how many chili peppers I have on Rate My Professor?
I have one chili pepper. That's fine. I'm also apparently helpful and clear, but hard. I can't really disagree with that. One review is a pretty small sample size, though. Without any data to back it up, I feel that today was a fantastic day. My students were really engaged in the lecture material and we had a grand time in lab. I'll take that over "Dammit!" any day.