What is it about the dynamic between college students and their professors that makes instructors feel entitled to treat students like they’re anything less than human?
In the past few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are only two kinds of college professors: they’re either the coolest people in the world, or the absolute meanest.
Lots of times I’ll see a great instructor going out of their way to help students decide what they want to do with their lives or giving them constructive criticism to help them improve.
Just as often, I’ll see another instructor who never gets around to grading papers, shows up late to class (bonus points if they constantly berate students for doing the same) or is just outright hostile to their classes.
Yes, some college students can be lazy, rude and downright disrespectful. That’s not a free pass to act like a jerk yourself. If a student is being disruptive, instructors should tell them to leave class and let their grade suffer. Instructors should not throw childish tantrums or take their anger out on students who actually do their work.
The fact is, no one deserves to be yelled at or made to feel stupid when they’re at school. An education is an incredible thing; no one should be discouraged from trying to learn.
It’s almost funny to see this behavior in college considering the national attention we give to bullying in elementary and secondary school. You’d think people would grow out of that sort of thing by the time they’re old enough to teach college courses.
So why do some instructors act like bullies and treat the classroom like a grade school playground?
I think the crux of the issue is that a lot of instructors don’t see students as adults. I’ve got this revolutionary idea that professors should treat their students as equals instead of like children they particularly dislike.
Think of a (good) business: if a boss treated his or her employees the way I’ve seen some professors treat their students, they’d not only be fired, but probably sued for harassment as well.
School is stressful enough without worrying about how my professors are going to talk down to me today. I give my instructors the respect they deserve; I’m only asking that they do the same.
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