Just because a professor is a “nice guy,” that doesn’t mean he’s a good teacher. Finding a good professor is much more complex than that.
The subjective evaluation of these individuals becomes of key importance at this time in the semester when we choose classes.
Your selection of professor can impact your class experience, subject preference and possibly even spark an interest in a career you may have never before considered.
But, determining how to categorize a “good” professor requires a bit of analysis. Think of your favorite professor. This individual may have played the role of a mentor. Or, maybe the reason he or she was so influential was because he considered you an equal.
A good professor challenges and pushes you to think beyond your capabilities. He or she may give the most difficult assignments, but these professors’ patience and guidance allow you to do your best work. It is up to you to decide whether you would prefer to receive that easy “A” or take the chance on a more difficult professor to glean true life learning from the course.
One student’s favorite professor may be another person’s most hated. Consider your own personality. It is important to find a professor that fits your own learning style and work habits.
If you enjoy being captivated through storytelling with tales of war, anarchy and heroic tales, then the professor with the gallant personality and booming voice may be your best bet, even if he is not as specific about subject matter. However, if you are an individual that prefers simply knowing the main point, then a professor who provides concise Powerpoint slides may be your preferred choice.
While course evaluations, Rate My Professors and students who have taken a class with the professor are all good ways to help you avoid those professors who are just plain terrible, they are not the be-all and end-all to finding your new favorite.
Doing your research beforehand is useful, but don’t be surprised if your favorite professor finds you when you least expect it.
Alyssa Jacobson is a junior majoring in advertising and political science.