Yesterday I taught a class at Emory's Center for Lifelong Learning, their name for their Continuing Education program these days. A couple of years back, all us instructors had to get 'certified'. Those that taught Adobe or Microsoft products with their certifications, or for us generalists, we had to pass the CTT+ exam. One of the things emphasized was that the instructor should always dress better than the student, creating an air of authority. Thereafter, all male instructors had to wear ties. One thing they don't teach you at the CTT+ exam is that some people are still intimidated by instructors. Chalk it up to authoritarian grade-school teachers, the nuns at parochial school, whatever. I noticed that the more successful instructors created what I'll call an 'Avenue of Approachability" to help this. What do I mean? I mean some bit of informality in the instructor's dress or demeanor that helps put the students at ease.  Greg Creech wears color-coordinated Keds sneakers. Richard Roberts encourages students to call him "Doc", as one would one of the seven dwarfs. What did I decide to do? I've adopted wearing a tie, but leaving it slightly loose around the neck, with the collar button unbuttoned, as if I've just loosened up a bit after a more formal engagement. Any other examples or discussion are welcome.

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