How many of us actually know who our professors are as people? Most of us follow the same routine of heading straight for the door as soon as class is dismissed. Apart from answering the attendance call or answering the odd question here and there, we may not even have that many interactions with certain professors. We as students should get into the habit of maximizing what our professors have to offer.
Apart from the knowledge professors give us through lectures or whatever way they teach something in class, there are plenty of benefits students can get from talking to our professors outside of the class period and striking up a relationship with them.
First, there is only a limited amount of time they are realistically going to be able to give us if we try to bombard them with a whole bunch of questions during class. They have things such as lesson plans, a course schedule and other students that they have to worry about.
Instead, consider coming to class a little early, or staying afterward assuming they don’t have a class to rush to after that one ends. This is where professors don’t have to worry about holding up class time and can answer questions and comments. Students engaging with them, and for example coming up to them with comments about what they think about a certain topic that was discussed in class, is a great indicator that students are engaged with what is being taught. In these conversations, we can ask questions and talk about things that we may not be as comfortable saying in front of our classmates.
Another avenue students can take is by showing up to professors’ office hours. In this scenario, students get all the benefits of talking to professors before or after class, but get the benefit of the professor having your undivided attention of the student. It also signals that the student is committed to getting the information that they need.
Getting to know our professors on a personal level also helps us with opportunities that we may want to pursue outside of the class that they may be teaching. If a professor knows that a student has an interest in a particular thing, then they will be inclined to let you know about it or put in a good word for said student.