8 Qualities Of A Great Professor

8 Qualities Of A Great Professor

Aspiring to professors that have inspired me all my years here

Professors are, to everyone, a different entity. To some, they might be a nuisance, an ordinary teacher that spurts out words and directions as if robot-like. To others, they are an absolute inspiration, but regardless of how you perceive them, they do ultimately serve as the last mentor we encounter before we enter the rest of our lives. Everyone deserves at least one professor that motivates and empowers them throughout college. Besides, they're pretty much the only adults in our lives at college. While we are transitioning into adults ourselves, it's still important to have some around us in the process to encourage us and remind us of what's important. Professors are practically our parents and bosses simultaneously, and although it may not seem like it to some, they are human, and are also ones to recognize your strengths and weaknesses of how you work. I am able to express my gratitude of how vital professors can be in our lives, from having had quite a few that have changed me as a student, which has brought me to recognize good qualities of a one.

Since professors have more flexibility that other teachers with not only what they teach, but how they teach, the ambiance of a college course can be really interesting and unexpected sometimes. Thus, classes can be made pretty unique and memorable if paired with the right person to teach it. Unfortunately, we will all have professors that we felt we couldn't work with, didn't understand us, or made us flat out feel like a bad student, but amazing professors can make up for that and remind you how great they really are in our lives. With sometimes overwhelming content, it can be a blessing to have someone that is able to instead make it enjoyable. Below is a list of qualities every professor should have, or at least aim to have, in order to be the best of the highest rank instructor they are, and influence students for years after school.

1. They treat you as a friend, not just a student.

The difference between feeling like a mere annoyance talking to a seemingly-superior professor that talks to you like a machine on a phone, and talking to one that you can relate to and feel comfortable talking about anything with, is tremendous. It can completely alter your attitude towards the class, boost your confidence, create a better learning environment, and leave you with a good reflection of the overall class. When I first had certain teachers that were comfortable enough with students to treat us as friends, and tell us their life stories, give us advice, and sometimes even talking about wanting to take us on a hike as a class, I thought it was of utmost unordinary. However, I soon realized how great it makes the class. This quality of a teacher makes everyone within it feel more whole, comfortable, and happy. Professors can be serious and fun.

2. Perfect balance of control

There are two types of professors: those that give you assignments, and those that challenge you beyond just assignments.

Professors that do the best they can and go out of their way to send reminders on upcoming events or assignments, make sure we're always on our feet, and confront us if they feel we aren't doing our best, are what make great students. Professors don't always offer the best assistance, so appreciate when they go out of their way because they care about your success in class. If you ever feel annoyed at a professor reminding you about an assignment, you'll miss it when you come across the professor that expects you to remember it all. All in all, a professor that pushes you, and furthermore encourages you to push yourself, is of great importance.

3. Take the material to another level.

Teachers that really try to go to all lengths and take all kinds of approaches to explain something, rather than read straight off a powerpoint like a student who doesn't feel like getting an A on a project, are significant for a ton of reasons. Doing so helps you pay attention so much more, remember certain material better, and learn how to take a different perspective on things. In many classes, these even goes beyond just helping students memorize things better; it can help them analyze or take on new ways of thinking (this is very useful for classes with a lot of analyzing, critical thinking, etc).

4. Treat everyone equally.

When a professor makes you feel as if you are incompetent because you didn't catch a certain phrase or reminder in a series of hundreds of other things said, it's a horrible feeling. It's also not so pleasant when a teacher always calls on the Hermione Granger of the class, without giving shyer students that raise their hand a chance to speak. A great professor should treat everyone equally, give everyone the same chance, and never prioritize a student over another for any reason. Every student, especially those that sit in the back and sulk their head as if they have no confidence, should be encouraged.


5. Have a sense of humor.

While this isn't a necessary trait, it certainly boosts the enjoyability of the class, and turns complex or boring content into more exciting ones. I love professors that have a sense of humor, especially if they're able to create humor out of a very bland topic to teach. Of course, being too humorous isn't always good when it's tied to a hard-to-grasp subject. Humor can be great to a degree, otherwise. Even if it's simply a professor that doesn't mind eating a poptart in class, talking about ridiculous trends on social media to connect with us, or making fun of Pokemon Go, I always love when a professor doesn't mind showing the funny side of them and expressing themselves. A good laugh in class can be following up with an open mind and better attitude to take in a subsequent long lecture.

6. They don't over-expect; they understand you.

The great kind of teachers expect the best from you, but don't expect too much from you. A teacher I once had for a morning class understood the difficulties some of us have with getting up in the morning. Moreover, she understood that sometimes "life happens," as she stated, and that things tend to naturally happen that are out of our control, and obstruct our schedule. In other words, she was lenient about us coming late to class once or twice. She has us text her if we were going to be late, but nevertheless she tried to understand us the best we could. She tried to offer alternative assignments or ways of learning if some of us weren't visual learners, or great at learning in other forms, and was always offering her best advice if we ever needed it. That teacher was kind enough to listen to a student in distress one class, for as long as they needed until the student could focus on their work again. To me, and the whole class, she was a teacher, counselor, mentor, and a great friend. The best teachers realize that we can't be perfect students, even if we try as hard as we can--they think on our level to incorporate teaching in better ways. They focus on offering as much help as they can outside of how much most professors are expected to help.

7. They stick to their word.

I cannot express how disappointed I have felt when I did an assignment, one of which I put a lot of thought and work into, double checked to make sure I brought it to class the next day, only to feel my face sink when the professor said they'll just collect them the next class as if they forgot. This has usually been the case for me with daily journals, or any other almost annual assignment. While it may seem as though they're doing some of the class a favor, they are actually devaluing the assignments, and the work students put into them, making them less obligated to keep up good work habits towards the class, or and obstructing them from working even harder in the future. The best kind of professors stick to their word, and make each task feel rewarding to the student. Never leave any student feeling like they put in a wasted effort.

8. They're open to change.

Professors are there to answer your questions about the class. Chances are that if you have one, and you were paying attention, the professor might not have made something clear enough. But they don't always realize this.

I have had only a few teachers in my life that truly realized there was always something they could improve on as a professor. They did not get insulted when someone told them group projects were not a good approach to a certain project, or that they didn't make something clear enough. I've had teachers admit they were wrong, as each one is bound to make a mistake at least once. But instead of blaming the class, when they did not emphasize that we have to do something enough. Some of these said teachers even let us vote on due dates,if we did or did not like a strategy of the class, and if we wanted something to be changed. I really admire these teachers, and they make for a great professor just like a student does; both open to how they can build themselves, and recognize that they're not perfect.

There is no such thing as a perfect professor, but one that's as good as they can be is an essential to all aspects of a class. A great professor can make you enjoy content you don't particularly like, they can bring you more confidence in the class, change and expand your perspective on what you already know, and make your overall college experience more enjoyable . After all, they are one of the big parts of the class that motivate us, and either feed our drives, or demotivate us. Lastly, a good professor is made by good students, so it isn't just their duty to be a great professor, but it's also yours to help get them there. Students and teachers correspond to one another in that way, both playing important roles to build one another in different forms. Be a good student, and you will help build great professors. If you don't appreciate them now, you will when you don't have them anymore.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

Popular Right Now

8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

Related Content

Facebook Comments