Published on 2012/02/01

The Value Of Having A Great Educator

The Value Of Having A Great Educator
Sometimes a good educator can be the difference between a terrifying and gratifying educational experience. Photo by Stacy Spensley

As I headed down the hallway toward my first class, as an adult freshman, an overwhelming sense of fear and doubt came onto me. Uncertainty rang loud in my head. What am I doing? What have I gotten myself into? How am I going to adapt to the hardships of college?

I could not answer one of these questions, nor did I have the time to do so, but I knew there was no turning back. I was at the point of my life where I needed a change. I needed to experience uncertainty to make sure that I could overcome uncertainty. As I stepped into my first classroom, I made a symbolic action comparable to the farmer covering the seed with dirt then waiting for the harvest. Moving forward into the classroom—the room of uncertainty—I covered my education seed with dirt, and now I wait for the harvest.

I have been attending Duquesne University for almost two years now. Every class has become a memorable experience, and this is because Duquesne is the right university for me. With the challenges of college work, I had to learn how to abolish any kind of fear and doubt, and gain some sort of confidence in myself.

I did not grow up with much confidence; therefore, it had to be taught. One of the ways I developed confidence began when I established a relationship with each of my professors. I usually try to get a read on a professor by how they look. Will this big, gray haired, deep voiced professor ask me for a thirty-five page paper… due in three days? Will this stringy-haired professor with black glasses and pointy eyebrows give me an F if I do not interpret Langston Hughes accurately?

Of course, this is not a good way to establish a relationship with a professor. I began to feel comfortable once the professor told us what they expected from the class, and reassured us that their door was always open and the phone would always be answered.

Another connection with the professor came from the work assigned. I have noticed that the assignments that were given were mind challenging, not mind intimidating. After all, I am attending college to learn more than what I already know, so the assignments and readings ignited curious questions which created another avenue of communication. I recall the emails I exchanged with one of my favorite literature professors, reacting to the deceitfulness and knavery attitude of Claudius in the Shakespeare novel Hamlet. I became involved in the teaching of my professors by engaging in discussion with them. I communicated with my professors, and felt comfortable doing it, because they opened the door for communication.

It is so important to connect with the professor in each class. Most professors will open that door of communication for their students, but it is up to the student to do it. Students must develop an attitude of wanting to learn that will enhance the positive fundamentals of learning something new. May many blessings come to the student that cherishes learning for the sake of knowing, and taking new knowledge to help others that do not know, and honoring college professors by communicating what he or she is learning.

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Readers Comments

Philippe 2012/02/01 at 12:20 pm

I try hard to provide my students exactly what you’re suggesting – a challenging lesson that appeals to their curiosity as well as providing practical lessons they can apply in future fields.

It’s important we all start to engage our students’ natural curiosity and desire to learn in order to make higher education worth the cost of tuition

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