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Opinion: Professors deserve kindness now more than ever



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I’m new to college. I’ve only been a freshman for a week.I’m still confused about where everything is and I haven’t really met very many people yet.

But there’s one thing I know for sure: our professors deserve the same patience they give to us. 

This is more of a preemptive piece than anything. School is just getting underway, so I still feel that bright-eyed and bushy-tailed vibe as I talk to people and walk around campus.

That will fade, though, even if it’s just a little bit. As we start to get past the introductory units of our classes, as we get into a routine and see the homework piling up, the initial gleam of the school year will fade away. It always does. 

I remember when I was a kid, the first few days of school smelled like disinfectant. All the school supplies were practically untouched and everyone was still unsure of one another’s names.

It was the most wonderful feeling in the world. But, as I said: it fades. Always.

That’s not necessarily bad, of course. According to Northwestern Medicine, getting into a routine can result in better sleep, lower stress levels and overall better health. But what I also know is that, sometimes, we begin to get tired of our routines – and our professors. 

But in a year like this, with most classes being taught virtually, glitches in Zoom and Canvas and an overall feeling of uneasiness, we can’t get fed up with our professors.

I’ve witnessed many students being disrespectful both this year and during my seniors year of highschool, whether they mean to or not, by zoning out, not participating in discussions and having their video cameras off for entire class periods. Not only is that a waste of your education, don’t you think it hurts your professor’s feelings? Even just a little bit?

So, if students are already becoming impatient and restless, then it’s time to state the message loud and clear: Give your professors time to adjust.

There are entire websites dedicated to teaching online courses, such as the from the National Education Association – with documents that are over 20 pages long – so, yeah. It’s an adjustment. It’s an entirely different way of learning and teaching.

They have adapted their entire course just so they can continue to teach you. 

Yeah, of course, it looks different. Of course, the work will have to be adapted. Of course, nothing is quite the same. But your professors are human beings. This was not their choice, and they are forced to adapt. And they are doing all of this, ultimately, for you. They do this for you so you can learn, so you can stay on track with your coursework and so you can graduate on time.

So instead of hassling your professors, why don’t you thank them? Or at the very least, give them some patience because they’re certainly being patient with you. Their patience should be evident at this point, and I can speak to this from personal experience. During the first week of classes, I accidentally missed an entire period of German. I waited 50 minutes, thinking either my professor had a problem getting the Zoom started or it was a glitch on my end, so I sent an email acknowledging I wasn’t sure exactly what had happened.

Instead of lashing out, I sent a respectful email, and my professor was very kind and understanding in response. Class did indeed happen, but because neither of us is incredibly comfortable with Zoom yet, we didn’t understand why it sent me to an entirely separate Zoom meeting room.

Zoom logistics aside, the patience and understanding we had for the situation is an example of how we all need to act with one another not only during the pandemic but even once the pandemic ends.

Be nice to your professors. I promise they’ll be nice in return.

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