By Guest Writer: Bridgette Givand
Many believe there is a disconnect between college students and professors. I also believe that. In college, it is often difficult to establish a great student/professor relationship. However, I spoke with some of my classmates and we agreed that you have done a fantastic job of being an amazing, effective, yet different college instructor. You are an EXCELLENT professor so I am writing you this simple letter of appreciation and notice because the SAIS evaluations cannot do it justice.
Thank you for spicing it up. Though it is important to be consistent, I believe it is also important for a teacher to be able and willing to teach in a variety of ways. I get tired of coming to class, pulling out my notebook and pen, copying notes, and then leaving each time. When you used videos, in class activities, and discussions, it kept us engaged and coming to class!
To me, the biggest and most effective way you spiced things was the way you consistently used early class engagement. It seemed as if a lot of us were way more engaged throughout class when we started with a relevant discussion or activity at the beginning of class. This not only woke us up, but it allowed us to turn our focus to that particular subject for (hopefully) the rest of the class period. Many times it introduced us to the topic of the day, or revisited a previous lesson. I feel spoiled now because when there is no early engagement in my other classes, I sometimes have trouble being as attentive and motivated to learn. Thank you for ditching typical, traditional lecture.
Thank you for making the lesson relevant. Your lessons were so much easier to remember because you presented the opportunity to relate them to something we already knew. With every new lesson or term you explained, you gave a current real-life example. Most of these examples came from popular news stories, sports headlines, and entertainment topics, which helped even more.
Thank you for recognizing that your large lecture classroom was a “difficult space” for learning. Instead of standing at the front of the room, you walked around the sides while talking so I could hear you in the back.
Thank you for your enthusiasm! I fed off your energy. It may seem Impossible to think college students could be alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic for an 8:10am class three days a week. But, we came excited to learn because you came excited to teach. Your constant smile and frequent corny jokes created such a light and positive environment in the classroom. We as students respected your authority, yet felt comfortable enough to share ideas, ask questions, and discuss as if everyone inside the classroom was equal. That’s an environment that only few students get to truly experience.
Thank you for believing in me. Many times I hear friends say that instructors “want us to fail” or “they want to make the class as hard as possible.” Somehow you have found the perfect balance of challenging us and being there as support when we didn’t understand something. You always showed concern, broke it down, and never moved on until we got it. We were able to conquer difficult problems because we were capable. We just didn’t believe we were. With your encouragement and support, I often walked out of the classroom thinking; Anything is Possible!… (if only for the next 15 minutes for soon I would have to face Chemistry.)
Freshman year, I almost started to see things fall apart in the classroom, (with all of my classes), because of my time management outside of the classroom. Your mid-semester check-up was a true wake up call. It’s not that I wasn’t “getting it”, it was that I wasn’t being the student I know I am and the student I know I can be. I have quickly found a sense of belonging at this incredible university and I refuse to go back home 6 hours away because of my laziness in the classroom.
Though it is cliché, it honestly is the little things. You never gave off the impression that you just come to class to collect a paycheck. You genuinely showed concern and interest in your students. You are my favorite professor because I believe you do more than what is required of you as an instructor. You will continue to be my favorite professor until I come across more to add to your ranks.