The Toughest Part of Being a Professor – Tips for Surviving the Campus Life
- August 4, 2022
- Posted by: usamashabir
- Category: Teaching & Academics
Being a professor is the toughest part of being a college student. You’re expected to put in long hours, teach undergraduates who are studying for finals, and make small talk with your students at lunch. But you know what? You get it! You’re one of the few people who actually enjoys this type of schedule. Being a professor is, in fact, the hardest job in academia. Even though we work long hours and sometimes feel exhausted by the end of the day, we still love what we do. If you think about it, teaching is actually more challenging than most jobs. There’s an inherent pressure to produce results, and students expect professors to share their research so they can learn from it. As a result, teaching can be extremely stressful and difficult at times. Fortunately, there are ways that you as a professor can reduce stress and increase your productivity without sacrificing your academic integrity or professional reputation:
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Don’t Expect Fair Treatment From Your Students
Most students don’t expect to be given a perfect score on their exams. They know that you won’t give them a 100% effort, and they accept it. The problem with this is that when you don’t give a student a 100% effort, they feel rejected. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, which can be incredibly difficult to overcome. In order to reduce the sting of rejections, try to remember that your students are generally smart and have grown-up experiences compared to you. Don’t compare yourself to them. Instead, accept that you got a 10% on your final, and move forward.
Communicate With Your Students
You never know how your students will act, so it’s important to have a communication plan in place in advance. You don’t have to always be the one trying to get through to your students. There are services such as Zoom, which allows you to make video or telephone calls to your students without constantly having to take the phone out of your hand. Stay in touch with your students using different communication channels. Ask them how they’re doing, and check in with them regularly. If you don’t, you may end up feeling guilty or like you’re expecting too much from them.
Stay Patient and Persistent
We all have our good points and our bad points. As a result, it’s important to stay patient and persistent when dealing with your students. There will be times when you don’t get your questions answered, or when a student doesn’t seem to be listening to you. At these times, it’s important to remember that students are, in fact, trying to learn from you. They’re trying to figure out how to best approach the material, and they may be trying to understand you better too. Keep in mind that students are always learning. No two students are ever going to respond the same way. If you ask them the same question over and over again and get nowhere, it may be because they don’t understand the question properly. At the end of the day, you’re the one trying to learn from your students, so keep trying and keep patient.
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Negotiate Any Issues with Your Students
Sometimes you just have to put your foot down and talk to your students like adults. This doesn’t mean that you have to be critical or that you have to be confrontational. It simply means that you have to be serious about the issue at hand, and that you won’t take things lightly. If you have a problem with a student who isn’t being cooperative, try to negotiate the issue with them first. This could save you from having a serious problem down the road. If you feel that a problem cannot be solved, say so. You don’t have to “ruin your career” or “set a bad example for your students” by being publicly confrontational. Simply say that you don’t think the issue can be solved, and move on.
Take Regular Breaks and Exercise
Although we all love to see our students succeed, it’s important to take regular breaks and get active. It’s better for your health and helps you stay focused. If you’re dealing with a lot of overtime, you may want to consider changing your schedule. There are plenty of clinics and groups on campus that have early morning and evening meetings that you could join if you wanted to get away from it all. Make sure to take care of yourself, too. You need to take care of your body so that you can function well during your shifts, and provide for your family.
As a college student, you’re always looking for ways to improve your grades and get into the best possible graduate school. Teaching is a great way to show your students how much you care, and to put your knowledge to work for them. The hardest part of being a professor is definitely the beginning. You have no idea how your career will turn out, and how long you’ll be able to do this. There are definitely challenges in being a professor, but there’s also a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you’re making an impact on the lives of your students.