Good professor vs. bad professor

Effective teachers will take time to help you learn

What makes a good professor different from a bad one in the eyes of Ferris State University students? Some professors never cancel class. Other professors have coursework due daily with a quiz the first five minutes of class.

And yes, I know a professor like this. He is smart, and he knows it. He can be condescending and likes to put students on the spot. I fear this professor.

This does not mean he is a bad professor. He is one of the first professors at Ferris who has challenged me to improve my writing to match the standards of a professional. I wonder if I would have been so quick to challenge myself without the threat of my grade hanging in the balance.

Isn’t that why most of us work hard in any class, regardless of the professor? We want good grades so we can get a good job and woe to a professor if he makes this goal difficult to obtain.

Welcome to the real world. Most employers don’t care about your grade point average or how many honor societies you are in. They care about how good you are at your job and if you are a team player. A professor who pushes you to improve your skills is a good thing because they are helping you where it really matters.

Of course, “pushing” can also have the opposite effect. I am a wimp. I admit it freely. Professors who are abrupt, outspoken and sarcastic are scary. I like working in environments where I feel comfortable and non-threatened. Others thrive in these environments.

My boyfriend loves the hard-core professors. He likes their sarcasm and has no fear of these professors’ threats. To him, a hard professor is a good professor and he would have it no other way.

I hear students in the corridors constantly complaining that their professor is hard, and he/she is not willing to help them and so on. I also hear those same students tell their friends they don’t study or go to the professor when they are having trouble understanding the material.

A good professor and a bad professor are different for each individual based on student learning styles and professor teaching styles. One thing is clear: A professor who shows an interest in his students’ learning and is approachable inside and outside of the classroom is worth his salt.

I can honestly say that in my three years at Ferris, I have never had a professor who was unapproachable inside or outside of the classroom. I can say that I have had a professor, whom I did not get along with at all, but was approachable. It just simply did not help to do so. I think this was due to her teaching style and my learning style conflicting.

It all boils down to communication. In my eyes, a professor who can explain a concept in different forms, take time out of his or her day to help you and shows an active interest in teaching deserves the title professor.