Respect Professors: Tips on Creating a Healthy Learning Environment

By Kendra Williams 

Recently, I was casually scrolling through Instagram and lurking on pages. I was aware that almost every school has a “barstool” page, where they post funny submissions from the students of that university. After lurking on University of Central Florida’s page, University of South Florida’s page, and finally The University of Tampa’s page, I noticed they all have one thing in common: a blatant disrespect and disregard for professors. 

One particular post that striked my attention was a video clip of a student yelling at a professor. Taoufik Bahadi, lecturer of mathematics at UT, was asking a Zoom class whether they could hear him or not, and a student screamed “Yes! You can’t hear us!” The student then goes on to type “WE CAN’T SEE THE BOARD” in the Zoom chat. 

I understand that there are technical difficulties, and considering this was a math class, it can be very frustrating. However, that is not the way to speak to a professor, especially if he is simply having trouble managing the computer. After the pandemic started, everyone had to get used to working through Zoom, and it hasn’t been easy. 

In another video, a student was on Zoom smoking from a bong. Even if you are not on campus or in the classroom, you still need to pay attention. You may not agree with attending classes at a private institution through Zoom, but the teachers are not responsible for that and can not control it either. 

When students were in high school, there was a certain amount of respect expected to be given to the teacher. After all, they were older than us, and legally responsible for us while we were in the classroom. Though university students are now all legally adults, that same respect should be given to our professors. 

Professors dedicate their lives to the subject they are teaching. Most go through more than six years of schooling to obtain their Phd, and then spend hours to plan lesson plans and grade papers. Yes, this is their job, but just like any job everyone who is on the team deserves respect. When people are respected, it promotes productivity. So, here’s a few ways you can pay respect to your professors. 

  1. Pay attention. How would you feel if you spent hours planning and researching for a lecture, only to be tuned out the whole hour by your pupils? When a professor is speaking, try to at least look like you’re listening. 
  1. Be Presentable. Whether class is on Zoom or in-person, you wouldn’t show up to class in a raggedy shirt and your hair a mess. The way your professors dress should give you a clue of how you are expected to dress. When you go to an interview you make sure you are dressed to impress. That should extend to the classroom, virtual or not. 
  1. Don’t be Demanding. Though you are paying for the classes, that isn’t an excuse to demand too much of your professors. When you pay to see a therapist, you are paying for them to listen and to give you coping mechanisms and teach you how to reach the root of your problems. When you pay for a class, you are paying for your professors to teach the subject and offer help for any understanding. However, asking for recorded lectures, class notes, detailed PowerPoints, etc., can be a bit much. You can’t expect the professor to study for the tests for you. Providing resources is expected, but clarification as well as other resources should help you pass the class.
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