Clarence F Stephens Advice to Teachers

The following advice to teachers by Clarence F Stephens is taken from the article: Armond Spencer, 'On attracting and retaining mathematics majors - don't cancel the human factor', Notices Amer. Math. Soc. 42 (1995), 859-862.

  1. Believe in your students - everyone CAN do mathematics, philosophy, art, literature, etc.

  2. Know your students - their names, what they know, their hopes and fears.

  3. Don't say this is easy, or this is trivial.

  4. Go fast slowly (most teachers go slow fast).

  5. It is very difficult to learn how to solve problems by watching someone else do it or by reading a book; the best method to learn to solve problems is by solving a lot of problems yourself.

  6. High standards do not mean having unrealistic expectations so students feel that they have failed.

  7. Write tests carefully - know what your average student can do and what your best student can do.

  8. And most of all - teach the students you have, not the ones you wish you had.

Last Updated July 2022