OPINION: Professor etiquette 101


Bella Lantz, Associate Opinion Editor

Professors can influence a student in the best and worst way possible. They have a greater impact than given credit for; therefore, sometimes what happens in the classroom goes unnoticed or slides under the rug. There are many things that can go right in a classroom, but also, many things that can go wrong. College students know professors want their students to thrive in their class. These are some things professors can keep in mind when teaching:

#1 Not so much work

Professors normally have to go through many different topics in class in order to teach the whole lesson plan. However, even though there might be a lot to get through, there is no excuse for more homework than needed. Sometimes, the homework feels like busy work, while other times the homework feels excessive. Students can have up to 18 credits of classes or more, while possibly working a job and keeping a social life. College students want to go out onto Sanford Mall and have fun with friends, but it can be difficult to do so when there is so much required work outside of class, sometimes more than the estimated homework per credit hour. Professors should consider how long assignments can take for students outside of class and be mindful of all the work for the stressed out college students.

#2 Create energy in the classroom

College students can have a multitude of classes in one day. Be mindful college students could be coming into class exhausted or tired. If the professor comes in talking as though they are bored, it takes away from the love of learning within the classroom. College students usually match the energy of the professors, especially the 8 a.m. classes where all professors want to do is lecture. Professors need to have the students move around or engage in the topic. They need to create excitement in the classroom to the point where students want to come to class and learn, because the energy in the classroom is positive and fun. College students can tell which professors want to be there and which ones do not. Creating a positive and engaging classroom environment could make students want to come for the class and not just the attendance policy.

#3 Be mindful of the differing opinions

In some classes, there are debates or topics that are brought up within the class. These topics could be sensitive to others or something other students are really passionate about. Students have different viewpoints on life, so be cautious when criticizing a religion or anything of cultural significance. It may not impact the professor’s life, but it is a large part of someone else’s. Inside the classroom, college students are there to learn, not to be ridiculed about their life. Do not be the professor that breaks a student’s spirit or love of a topic. Professors should not make a student feel miniscule for disagreeing with their opinion. If a professor has to diminish a college student’s opinion to validate theirs in a debate, it is not much of debate. If a professor does any of these things, the environment in the classroom immediately becomes untrustworthy and creates an unstable foundation for students.

There are many amazing professors out there already teaching their students in a way that creates a safe environment where students want to learn and grow. Most college students are grateful to the professors who are continuing or willing to teach during these times. Being a professor is not an easy task and college students can sometimes be difficult to teach. College students are scrounging websites like Rate My Professors to ensure they get a professor that understands some of these suggestions. That is not to say professors need to change everything about their teaching styles, but maybe just take some feedback every once in a while. A happy classroom is one with both happy students and a happy professor. Accountability from both students and professors can make all the difference in a classroom. 

Being a professor is not easy and the profession deserves the utmost respect. Thank you to all the professors out there, many of you have helped students grow to be who they are today.