So many students are intimidated by college professors and with good reason. The stereotypical professor is old, immersed in their own books and is way smarter than the student. Students assume correctly that professors are busy and they don’t want to waste their time.
However, students need the mentorship of teachers. Ideas and intellect grow with this nurturing. Most faculty are excited about teaching young people. Many professors say that they sit at office hours waiting for students to come by but most students only come by around test time or when the paper is due.
The issue is how do we foster these relationships? Most young students need to be armed with some questions that they can ask their professors during office hours. I often tell students that everyone likes to talk about themselves so when in doubt, ask the teacher about their life. Some questions include:
What is your favorite class to teach?
What is your research about?
What did you major in college and why?
Want some other examples of what you might ask? Click here.
Once the student starts the dialogue, it often continues. The student can start it off and then hopefully the professor continues by asking the student a few questions. One conversation can grow into another and then the relationship forms! Hopefully the student keeps trying with multiple teachers so they get to know a few different people.