How To Talk To Your Professor And Why Bother?

How To Talk To Your Professor And Why Bother?

Some students consider professors to be monsters, hellbent on making their lives difficult. In reality, college instructors are ordinary people willing to help you, if only you take the time to get to know them. If the mere thought of talking to a professor makes your skin crawl, let us guide you through establishing a friendly relationship with your instructors. But first, we’ll share a few secrets how instructors can make your college life easier.

How Can Talking To A Professor Help You?

What’s in it for me? That’s what you must be thinking right now. We’ve chosen three potential benefits a good relationship with a professor will bring you. You will find many more, once you start talking to your instructors.

Help With Your Classes

To get a teaching position at a college, professors have to be experts in their field. So the best person to turn to if you have troubles in class is your instructor. He or she will be able to point you in the right direction if you feel lost trying to complete the homework. Instructors are usually willing to help you get extra points if you have failed a test or two. Most importantly, the professors are there to help you master the subject, not fail you. Show a little interest in the class, and you’ll get the much-needed assistance.

Access To Resources

Professors have a much longer reach than you can imagine. They can get you into libraries and research facilities you would never be able to use otherwise. Besides, professors know college organizational structure and the people who can help you with the problems outside the classroom, like bullying or harassment, the need for counseling or self-defense classes.

Academic And Career Opportunities

Professors have a vast social circle in their fields, so they learn about numerous opportunities you could use, like internships, scholarships, summer schools or job openings. But if you don’t show your interest, the instructor won’t know to share this information with you. And it will be difficult for your professor to write a glowing recommendation if you don’t hold a single meaningful conversation outside the classroom.
How To Talk To Your Professor

How Can You Get Professor’s Help?

We’ll let you in on a secret: professors are happy to help you. All you have to do is ask. There are, however, a couple of tricks that can endear you to a professor more quickly and increase the chance of success:

  • Be polite and respectful. Don’t address the instructor by the first name unless specifically asked to do so. The safest choice is “Professor”, or you can use Ms. or Mr. We don’t have to tell you not to address your female professors as “Mrs.”, unless they use the term themselves.
  • Be honest. Even newbie professors grow a bullshit-meter after a couple of months. They have heard all about your paper-eating dog and a localized blackout in your dorm room. So unless you can think of a truly ridiculous lie to make your professor laugh, don’t bother. Instructors will treat you much better if you tell the truth.
  • Be quick. If you have one question about an essay due next week, don’t waste 30 minutes talking about a similar assignment you had to complete in high school. Get to the point, and the professor will gladly help you.
  • Be friendly. Most colleges expect professors to spend several hours a week holding office hours for students. Since learners rarely use these opportunities, instructors are stuck reading emails and scrolling through Facebook or Twitter. It’s a good idea to drop in once in a while to share a couple of friendly words. You never know, your Economics instructor might be able to help with an Art History class or just lend an ear to listen to your academic struggles.

There are also some things you should never do if you expect to uphold a good relationship with the professors and not get in trouble with the college administration. Under any circumstances, DON’T:

  • Expect preferential treatment. Just because you came to visit an instructor during the office hours, doesn’t mean you can forget about the assignments and tests you have failed. The professor will still expect you to catch up with the rest of the class.
  • Flirt with an instructor. Students get infatuated with their professors all the time. However, the times of teacher-student romance are long gone. Nowadays, instructors can lose their jobs and get a ruined record if they act on an attraction. So be friendly, but don’t try to seduce an instructor to get an A. You are more likely to face a harassment charge than date your professor.
  • Blame the professor. Class syllabus is there for a reason. You have to submit assignments on time with the rest of the class or face the consequences. Instructors won’t be able to accept the semester-worth of papers and grade them in a single sitting the night before the final exam. So if you feel like you are failing, consult the instructor. Ask if there is a way to pass the course or whether you will have better luck retaking the class.
  • Intimidate or threaten. Most instructors get dozens of threats every year from disgruntled students. As you can imagine, these threats don’t go far. First, instructors only get a reason to fail them in class. Second, college administration is far more likely to take the respected professor’s side, than a student’s in such disputes. If you feel the urge to threaten your professor, think instead of how you can do better in class next time.

We hope you now realize that college professors are not monsters, but perfectly friendly people open to constructive communication with their students. After all, instructors choose to teach because they are passionate about their fields and wish to share their knowledge with you. Use our advice, and get to know your professors. You’ll be surprised, how much easier your college life can be!