We asked students to tell us about their favorite professors. Many of you may have read, or are in the process of reading your student reviews from this past semester. As educators, you may not always hear or read about the positive impact you have had on the lives of your students. The following anecdotes demonstrate the value you can and do bring to students.
Some common themes jumped out as we read through the students' responses:
- Students respond to the personal touch many educators demonstrate.
- Students want to be inspired, encouraged, and challenged.
- Humor and stories are keys to maintaining student engagement.
- Holistic approaches to course material resonate with students.
- The more encouragement an educator provides, the higher the chances are that a student will rise to the occasion—no matter how hard the class may be.
- High school educators play a significant role in defining how students approach their college academic work.
We hope this article comprised of student praise encourages you, inspires you, and motivates you.
Educators Matter—Read What These Students Have to Say
During the summer, I took a managerial accounting class. The professor’s enthusiasm and real-world examples made a very technical subject relevant and entertaining. Whenever the class became quiet and serious, he told us, "You guys are so serious. You should all be accountants!" In addition to his passion, he was an inspirational professor. In one of the class sessions, he explained to us why he wanted us to understand accounting concepts instead of memorizing them. He said, "Look, the reason I want you all to understand these concepts is that five years, ten years, or fifteen years from now, I want to see the title of CFO, CEO, CMO, Entrepreneur, or Founder on your LinkedIn profile." This professor’s belief in his students inspired me to understand the reason behind business courses.
My most memorable professor taught a Physics of Pollution class. The class was tedious and challenging, but the way he taught us to write out all conversions and see the process of mathematical equations is something I have used in other classes to answer questions successfully.
I had a finance professor who had a different philosophy than every other teacher. He wanted to ensure students in college enjoyed their time and did not stress about everything. He taught that, in the business world, it is essential to be able to socialize with peers. This teacher would set-up activities for us outside of class to enable networking with people in the finance industry.
My most memorable teacher was my high school Advanced Literature teacher. She did a fantastic job of bringing the stories to life. Instead of just assigning reading, she would assign interactive projects. We had to re-enact scenes from The Merchant of Venice; we wrote a poetry journal; and engaged us using immersive learning techniques. For example, she turned off all the lights, played Imagine, by John Lennon, and asked us to free-write as we focused on the music. Those memories will stick with me forever and ultimately inspired me to get into writing.
I had a couple of English teachers in high school who helped me form the way I think about art, etc. There was so much I had not realized I was missing when reading or watching movies. These teachers helped me look for deeper meaning within the arts.
My favorite teacher left an impression on me because he was a world traveler. His parting words to me on my graduation day were, "You will go far and don't let anything hold you back." I took some courses from him between my sophomore and senior years. He recognized my passion for becoming an RN and encouraged me to pursue my dream career.
One professor inspired me to pursue an area of study, Classics that I wasn't familiar with at all, but he was so passionate about it. His breadth of knowledge blew me away and sparked a passion for learning. He was also instrumental in convincing me to study abroad for a summer. I had a fantastic experience that I will never forget. I can never repay him for all the experiences he made possible.
My favorite professor encourages his class to perform well academically, but he's concerned with more than just grades. He cares about each of his students as people. He wants us to develop a healthy, holistic lifestyle. He has given me advice on several occasions and has impacted me probably more than he knows. He is one-of-a-kind, and I am going to miss his classes.
My advisor and professor of intermediate accounting are my favorite. He's there for his students, guiding them to complete their undergraduate degree and planning for the CPA exam. He is very willing to help when you have questions about reviewing for the CPA. I have him to thank for the job I received out of school.
One of my professors was passionate about her students’ success. She went beyond in everything she did; the way she taught, the homework assignments and discussion board she made, the office hours she held, and every minute she spent with her students. She was never annoyed when asked a question, but instead always responded with, "What a great question." She then answered it to the best of her ability.
My favorite professor taught circuit analysis. He revealed to me my real potential and helped me realize that I really can do anything I set my mind to.
My favorite teacher was my high school calculus teacher. He was incredibly open-minded and sensitive to students who came from different backgrounds and those with unique needs. His enthusiasm was infectious.
Remember to live life every day. It is the balance you create between work, school, family, and yourself that is the most important goal." These words were my favorite professor’s mantra. He always asked each student what it was they were going to do this week just for themselves.
I have two favorite teachers; both taught me accounting and made the material enjoyable. I always felt like I could ask anything without feeling judged.
I loved my Physics professor! She had over 300 students and could remember your name even if you visited her office once.
My most memorable teacher was actually from high school. She didn't come to class with many colorful stories or comments. When I began high school, I wasn't self-motivated. By junior year, I knew that had to change, and I did. I received almost a 4.0 that year and did go on to get a 4.0 my senior year. My senior year, she assigned a ten-page research paper. She spent lots of time reviewing the exam to make sure it was right. It was some of the most challenging work I have done, it pushed my limits, and I learned how rewarding hard work could be. That has stuck with me ever since.
I attend the University of Texas at San Antonio, and here is where I met the smartest, kindest, and most loving human being in my college experience. She does more for her students than any other professor I have learned from. I idolize how dedicated she is and how she always manages to find time to bond with each one of her students semester after semester. I will always keep in contact with her. She's stuck with me.
My favorite professor pushed me hard in accounting class, and although I hated how hard it was, it paid off. She showed me that success comes through hard work and confidence—it doesn't come easy. I am so grateful for my experience with her.
My favorite teacher was my high school physics teacher. He inspired me to do engineering and helped me get to where I am today.
One valuable lesson I will never forget is this phrase a professor told me when I was at a very low point: "You’re only a kid once, make sure you employ a healthy balance in your life.”
I had a professor who advised me that, "Few things in life ought to be taken with absolute seriousness. Education is one of them. If you pursue knowledge, you pursue a future; there is nothing more honorable than that."
My Calculus I professor changed the way I think about learning. Before I took his class, I hated calculus; I was scared of it. Unfortunately, my previous teacher and I did not get along. But this other professor was big about group work, and he always challenged us to think about things critically. I'll never forget that he set up a foundation for a beautiful way of seeing life—through the lens of calculus!
My accounting teacher in high school is by far my favorite. He would take the time to make sure that everyone understood the material, and he would also tell us a bunch of interesting stories to help us remember the content. He would crack jokes to entertain and engage the class; he made learning fun as crazy as that sounds! One of the things that I enjoyed about his class was that he would play music while we worked on problems in the book.
My art teacher from high school left a deep impression on me. She believed in my ability and encouraged not only me, but all of her students to try to do the best they could. I have not seen her in twenty-six years, and I would love to let her know how much her support meant to me.
Did you know when you became an educator that you change lives forever? Perhaps you did, or maybe that realization came later in your career. What’s the best thing a student ever said to you about your teaching? Let us know in the comments below.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Christopher Ruel