The editorially independent student voice at The University of Akron since 1889.

The Buchtelite

What it takes to be a great teacher in college

By Lauren Thompson

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Mediocre professors, whether on the good or bad end of the spectrum, are easy enough to come by. But finding a truly amazing professor is quite the feat. Excellent professors have integral qualities.

Make class interesting and entertaining

Professors need to make class enticing and important enough to draw a person away from Netflix and out of their bed for more than just attendance points. The best are those who can acknowledge that sometimes class material is really dry and they need to liven things up.

They throw out a couple jokes and entertaining, real-life examples once in a while. They develop a rapport with their students so that the classroom is also an interactive environment.

Be inviting and accepting

A professor needs to be accepting of other opinions and maintain an open, safe environment. Having a professor who consistently makes their students feel inferior is incredibly frustrating.

A professor who accepts questions and genuinely wants to help their students understand and who welcomes opinions that differ from their own is extraordinarily helpful.

Make class worthwhile

There is nothing more frustrating than sitting through an hour of class and walking out thinking about all the other things you could have been doing: homework, working out or maybe some more Netflix.

If attendance is going to be mandatory, something other than what is in the textbook or what was taught last class should be discussed. Anybody can read a textbook, so teachers should  give students some real-life examples and information they cannot teach themselves.

Make students want to impress you

If a professor is intensely passionate about their class and has the traits listed above, that is enough. If students want to impress their professor, they are more likely to want to do their homework and to do it well.

It makes students want to put the extra effort in so they can ask relevant and insightful questions in class and show that they understand the material.

Be flexible

Sometimes personal emergencies happen. Sometimes a mental day is necessary. Professors who take points for attendance do not allow for these days. Obviously students cannot expect to be able to skip class one or more times weekly, but a handful of freebies are much appreciated.

It is comforting to know that you have a few spare days to catch up on extra homework, pick up an extra shift at work, or stay in bed and rest a couple of times throughout the semester.

An excellent professor can make a world of difference and these are just a few of the qualities that make them excellent. If a professor has these, they are well on their way to making a positive impact on their students’ academic career and maybe even their future career outside of school.

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The editorially independent student voice at The University of Akron since 1889.
What it takes to be a great teacher in college