With the winter break ending soon, it’s time to start planning for your Spring 2020 semester, and perhaps one of your resolutions for the new year could be to spend more time getting to know the professors you’ll be working with for the next several months.
Maybe getting to know your professors doesn’t seem like the most exciting thing in the world, but getting acquainted with your professors early on in the semester can actually have quite a few benefits. It’s literally your professor’s job to help you succeed in your educational ambitions, so you might as well use that dynamic to your advantage.
How to Get on Your Professor’s Good Side From the Start
For one thing, it can actually help you to achieve greater success in your classes if your professors know who you are early on in the semester. Introducing yourself at some point before or after your first class might seem like a simple and meaningless gesture, but it can pay dividends in the long run.
Now that you’ve introduced yourself, they know your name, your face, and, if you’re nice, you’ve already had a pleasant interaction. It also shows that you take the class seriously, which the professor is likely to appreciate and it’s always beneficial to get on your professor’s good side from day one.
If you’ve taken college courses before, you’ve probably noticed that wherever students sit on the first day of class usually ends up being their seat of choice for the remainder of the semester. Make it a point to sit in the front row of desks, so you’re directly facing your professor during classes. Naturally, you’ll end up being a more prominent student from your professor’s perspective than someone hiding in the back of the room. It will help them to familiarize themselves with you more quickly and when you raise your hand, you’ll be one of the first people they see.
Your Professor Wants to See You Participate
Participation in your classes can also help to distinguish yourself from other students in the class. There will always be students who are quiet If you’re frequently involved in class discussions and regularly asking questions, it shows the professor that you’re engaged and interested in the material. Plenty of professors will include participation as a part of their grading criteria anyway, so it behooves you to be a recurring and vocal presence in the classroom.
Your time in the classroom isn’t the only place to participate, however. If you’ve been a good student and read through your syllabus, one of the first things you’ll likely see is a schedule of your professor’s office hours. This is time your professor sets aside for the express purpose of helping students and answering any questions you might have. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be taking full advantage of this time, especially if you’re confused about or having trouble with something in the class.
Showing up during office hours might feel like a drag. Most students don’t want to spend more time working with their professor than they already do during class unless they’re a pesky little nerd…but sometimes it pays to be a nerd. Much like the other tips in this article, showing up during office hours demonstrates that you care about the class and doing well in it, and a professor appreciates hard work and dedication from their students.
If for some reason you’re unable to meet your professor during office hours, you can always reach out to your professor via email or phone depending on what contact information they share with students. Whatever you do, just be sure to get in touch with your professor well before an assignment’s deadline. You’re professor probably won’t mind helping out if you’re getting out in front of a problem you’re having with an assignment before it’s due, they may even appreciate it. Pleading with them after it’s too late though, will just annoy them.
At the End of The Semester, A Positive Student-Teacher Dynamic Can Pay Off
If by the end of the semester, you’ve been following these tips and you’re struggling with some of the material, stressing out about passing a test, or just a few points from bumping up another letter grade, that’s the time to cash in on all that goodwill you’ve been building with your professor all semester.
At this point, your professor has hopefully formed a pretty positive impression of you because you’ve made it a point to make sure they do. A professor that likes you and appreciates your effort is going to be more inclined to help you through tough material or cut you a break than one who thinks you’re a slacker who doesn’t care about their class. If you’re aware of that and can do a bit of schmoozing at the end of the semester, you just might be surprised by how willing your professor is to help you out.