Teaching should be like coaching, says professor Eric Wilson
By Gregory Green
Dr. Eric Wilson has been teaching humanities for four years at City Colleges of Chicago, including Wilbur Wright College, Truman College, and Harold Washington College.
Wilson is determined to stay at City Colleges and does not have plans to teach at a university any time soon. He really loves teaching at HWC, because he feels that students can ask questions and do investigations.
HWCis “different from a four-year university where you have to be a little more straight forward with the students,” he said.
He would like to continue to teach at HWC for as long as he can, according to Wilson.
What inspired Wilson to become a teacher is that he wanted to keep exploring ideas and to do so in a different way than it was done when he was in graduate school.
In graduate school he felt like conversations were very specific. He compares it to a contest, competing about who knew more who could think the best thought.
“It got in the way of actually exploring new ideas,” he said.
He also wanted to be a teacher because he wanted to work with people.
“Everyday I get to see people, get to know people who necessarily don’t come from the same background that I do, maybe don’t even speak the same language that I do. And for me that is just really exciting,” he said.
Wilson hopes that his teaching style helps his students have a better understanding of the class material by being, what he calls, a “student teacher.”
He wants to be like a player’s coach in sports.
“I know what it feels like to be a student, I know that it is hard and also stressful,” he said. “I know it can feel like us teachers are trying to trick you, and so I wanted to be a teacher who listens. I take my students very seriously because it feels that all of my students are intellectuals whether they know that or not”.
Trust is the biggest factor in students, according to Wilson.
“Teaching is a valuable job and teachers should be excited about teaching,” he said.
He loves a curious student who wants to be in and is open to new things and ideas.
Wilson wants his teaching style to allow students to engage. The only thing he wants his students to walk away from once the course is over is becoming impacted by ideas, and broadening their thought process as a student.
The student body will then be well on their way, he said.