If I were sitting in my own class, watching myself, I might think the instructor a little odd, a little to energetic at times, BUT he wants to be there, and he wants me to understand him. The subject matter does dictate the level of personal connection you can bring to your course content, but when you are discussing how to manage your time, or what ways you can approach college that will reduce your stress, or utilize the good stress, then you can understand how I can bring a story to each of my lessons.
So what did I expect from my students? Do the work, participate (and this is where I make fun of EVERYBODY including myself, for the group fear of being the first one to speak), but ultimately give me something back that shows you absorbed, and applied, what I am teaching. So much of the course I taught is applicable to any student, or even just any regular person just bumping along in their life. I took many of the concepts, such as goal setting, and applied it with gusto to my own life, and then used myself as the example. And here is where I think it is very important: I told them where I succeeded, but especially where I failed. Many of my students were not even 20, and many were in their early 20's. And I very blithely explained my own path to understanding, and how some lessons took many years to sink in. So my expectation was small.
My students surprised me.
Presentations. You hate them...and you hate them. Public speaking is a fear for most, and the students in the program I was teaching the course for would not have many opportunities to practice public speaking, and so start the steps to overcome their fear. They took the challenge, were brave, but what I was impressed by was the wide range of class topics they each presented on (it had to be study skills, or in the range of self-management), and how I encouraged them to relate their topics to themselves, and they did! They told me stories of their successes and failures, were self-aware in what they needed to improve, and outlined what the ideal any of us should have for achieving success in that area. And the real bravery was in the sharing of the successes and failures. Each student took at least one piece and made their own long before I asked them to do a presentation, and this was very, very encouraging. Speaking with the students before, during, and after class, and from the answers given on the mid-term and final exams, I believed I had instilled in each of them at least one (though often much more) of the skills and success strategies to be successful in school, and in retrospect, life.
Life is hard. My advice to you: simplify, find out what is really important in your life, and prioritize those things, even creating goals for yourselves. So much advice is given today about what is distracting, how you should be, and pushing us to a directed path (though some of this IS good). Each of our paths are different, and we need to each find our own...but sometimes you can pass on what you know to others, especially your failures, and they might find the piece they have been missing and get them on the path they really want to be on. For me, reading, writing, teaching, hockey, friends and family are my joys. And I am a happier person for knowing, and pursuing, the things that make me productive and happy.