When Your Professor Isn’t on Your Side

Morgan C. Mullings, Opinion Editor

As a student who came from a very challenging college prep school, I know the importance of testing your knowledge. We all should know, since most of us took a standardized test before coming to a university. And whether you are a bad test-taker or you’re awful at essays, you came to school to learn. None of us should have to contemplate if our professors are on our side or not.

There’s no purpose in bashing St. John’s University professorsthey are intelligent, they work incredibly hard and they deal with hundreds of students every single day. However, the relationship between professor and student can never be perfect. That’s why it makes sense that many students feel like their professors are setting them up for failure, or trying to weed out the students who are “smart enough” for an A.

Just listen to some of the comments on Rate My Professors. “You will get a B no matter how hard you study.” “She never repeats herself.” “A vast difference between what she teaches and what she puts on the test.” These are all comments made about SJU professors, past and present.

It’s not okay to give a professor a bad rating just because the content is difficult or because attendance is always taken. It is okay to have a complaint when a teacher doesn’t give their students all the resources they need to succeed. That includes answering questions, taking feedback, filling in the informational gaps, teaching what is tested and grading within reason. Many students get frustrated when teachers do not specifically spell out expectations and then mark down their students on those invisible expectations.

Professors, students just want to know that you want them to succeed. That is shown in how you teach, how you grade and how you interact with studentsNot by you just saying “Good luck!” before handing out the final exam. And if the students don’t use the resources you gave them, then sure, hand out as many F’s as you like. It is unfair for students to ask you to hold their hand through a college course. But you have to make every effort to make sure that the students are actually learning something and seeing the results of their learning.

As for the students who want to learn, they deserve a professor who understands that everyone deserves an A if they worked for it.