College professors are nothing like high school teachers.
They have higher expectations and definitely hold you to them. Fortunately, the ability to weave out the good and the bad professors exist in a world that is almost too good to be true, at times. If you are a college student, you know about RateMyProfessors.com, which is basically Yelp for professors.
What? That's a thing? Oh, yes, my friend, it is.
And, of course, I have searched for a former professor way after walking out of their class. Fortunately, I have had amazing professors since the very beginning, with only a few that stick out, who were not the best. I noticed an interesting trend while looking through my peer's ratings of different professors. It seemed as though everyone had their own way of critiquing a professor and the way that they lecture, answer questions, and grade assignments.
While this is college, first and foremost, I also noticed that most were very picky about how engaging a class is. Often, I saw comments like "She acts like she's teaching a bunch of kindergartners" or "She tries hard, so she needs a little bit of slack with her "eh" teaching style" and I was almost shocked because I did not feel the same way, at all.
Mind you, these are comments about some of my favorite professors. I couldn't help, but jump to the first conclusion of "Oh, they're just bad students."
But, if there is one thing I have learned while growing up, it's that assumptions are dangerous. So, rewind just a little bit, and I am able to come to the realization that comments like these, are of students who learn differently from the way that new material is placed in front of them. I was just so stunned at some of these comments and agree with others, at the same time.
Sometimes, it was as though some were not even commenting about the same professor. I could not understand how someone could say that about professors that I really enjoyed having.
I had this one professor last semester who was truly amazing. She had a guest speaker show up to class every other week, which really helped with applying what we were learning to real-life situations. In one class, she asked everyone why we were taking that class.
One guy said he almost switched to another elective until he saw her RateMyProfessors page and thought that he should listen to (mostly) everyone that commented on what a fun and interactive class it was. Strangely, my professor blushed and mentioned that she never wants to see what students say about her.
Of course, I understand, but I also believe that RateMyProfessors is not only a great tool for students to get an idea of what their potential or future professor will be like, but it can also help the professors, as well. I think that one of the hardest parts about being a professor is catering to the needs of the students.
Incorporating all styles of learning into lectures is something that I think would greatly benefit students and professors, alike. Although, I do understand why my professor would not want to read these anonymous comments about students she has had in her classes. It almost sounds like high school.
Interestingly, when I first started my current job, I was asked to take a Learning Style Assessment and then, email the results to my supervisor. I found this to be an interesting and important aspect to consider in the workplace, as well, because we learn everywhere we go.
Superiors should definitely be aware of the way that their employees learn so that they are able to implement this in expectations and training modules. I believe that this could potentially be helpful in classroom settings, as well. Obviously, individually catering to each student is not realistic in most scenarios. However, asking students to take a Learning Style Assessment at the beginning of class and tallying the results could be a great way to implement these styles in lesson plans.
Understanding your own learning style is important, too. Scrolling through the ratings on RateMyProfessors isn't going to be helpful without distinguishing how you personally learn the best. Honestly, this website is such a great resource when it is utilized in its full glory. Let the voices of your peers guide you to success.