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The Value of a Good Professor

December 14th, 2010

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Your class experience is invariably affected by the quality of your professor. A good one can spark your interest in a subject, motivating you to seek more information on related topics. A bad one can completely turn you off to a subject, causing you to forever associate it with the mind-numbing boredom you endured during that one forgetful semester. Fortunately, you can increase the chances you wind up with a professor who has the qualities necessary to achieve the latter by doing your homework.

In order to get a sense of a professor’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness, you can peruse professor rating sites, such as ratemyprofessors.com, or even find reviews on your school’s website. The more ratings or reviews they receive, the more accurate portrayal you’ll receive. The best way, however, to find out info about a professor is by word of mouth. Ask your friends who have already taken the professor’s class and get their honest assessments. The professors in your major likely have reputations among the students in the program, for better or for worse, so asking around could also help you determine which ones to select.

If you’re just a freshman, you may be wondering what makes a good professor. It’s one of those situations in which you’ll definitely know it when you see it. Unanimously, each effective and well-liked professor possesses excellent communication skills that make the class content easy to understand, meaning their lectures and notes aren’t jumbled and poorly though out. Affability is a good quality to have, but at the very least, they should be receptive to questions from students in class and out of class. Far too many professors are simply there to research and don’t care about teaching. You’ll want to be in the classes of the ones who enjoy interacting with their students and genuinely want them to learn.

Of course, a good professor should exhibit enthusiasm and immense knowledge about their subject. They should use their communication skills to stir interest from their students. Do they ask questions that reach beyond the textbook? Do they try to relate the material to your life? Going that extra mile makes all the difference in the world, as does going the extra mile to ensure your professor is good at their job. The learning process is greatly enriched by a quality professor.

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