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What Your Professors Expect From You

by College Magazine on April 08, 2011
College Magazine Staff

 By Alexandria Sese > Sophomore > English > University of Illinois at Chicago, Photo by Online Universities Weblog

While acing exams and turning assignments on time certainly makes college professors happy, it’s not all that they expect from their students. College is a different playing field and professors want students to treat it that way. It’s not all about memorizing terms, it’s about substantial and sustained learning, says Dr. Ken Bain, Ph.D., author of What the Best College Teachers Do and history professor at Montclair University.
“Good teachers help students to take a deep understanding and make meaning out of what they are learning,” says Bain. In college, professors expect students to go beyond the basic skills they learned in high school.
It’s all about taking a interactive approach to learning. According to Bain, students who take this approach are the ones who integrate what they learn in the classroom with their lives and recognize the implications of the ideas they pick up from their study materials.
 
While teachers play an important role in education, Bain says that students play just as important of a role. Dr. Kip Wheeler agrees and says asking questions are not only important but also expected of students. “Ideally, asking questions develops the life-long habit of talking about ideas,” says Wheeler, a habit that trains students to brainstorm with their teachers and peers to help them create their own original ideas.
 
Wheeler also strongly suggests taking advantage of professors’ office hours.  “They’re paid to be there for you,” says Wheeler. Professors are there for their students and expect them to come in for any concerns. It is in the student’s best interest to seek help from their professors, not  just to clear up any concern but to show the student’s serious interest in the subject.
 
Students are also encouraged to make a good presence in class. Sitting in the front row, actively engaging in the lecture by nodding and making eye contact with the professor are some of the ways to make a positive impression with professors, say Wheeler. It also shows them that you are following the lecture and are engaged in the material just as they expect you to be.
 
“Professors and teaching assistants notice,” says Wheeler about classroom student behavior. He adds that a student’s indifference to class can come back to haunt them later.
 
Professors also expect their students to take advantage of their peers. Exchanging contact information with classmates in the beginning of class is a good way for students to keep up with class should they have any reason to miss class. Students are also expected to keep in touch with their professors and teaching assistants if they need to miss class for any reason.
 
“Don’t let college get in the way of your education,” says Wheeler. Getting a good GPA and leaving a positive impression with teachers are important in aspects of college education. However, the real purpose of it, what a student is really paying for is the opportunity to learn how to integrate the materials covered in class into their lives. 
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