As the semester comes to a close, the urge to skip class grows stronger as it grows colder. Professors become frustrated, which is understandable, but the problem comes when professors take the opportunity to call students out and give them a hard time.
If done right, it could be funny to said student, but most often it hurts the student, and the shame that it brings only encourages them to not want to attend class in the future.
Sure, students skip class after a hard night downtown, but that does not account for all students who miss their classes. Students are put under a lot of stress between class, homework, work, friends, working out, “The Bachelorette,” etc. In a study done by Harvard this summer, researchers found over 96% of students get fewer than eight hours of sleep every night.
This balance is incredibly hard, and is a constant struggle for the majority of college students. Having empathy for your students should not be a difficult thing.
Professors need to be empathetic to students. It’s plain and simple. The one constant theme I hear in my education classes is that as future teachers, everyone wants to provide a safe and open environment for their students. So why did that change for some professors?
By no means am I herding all professors into this group, because a lot of professors at this school genuinely care for their students’ wellbeing. They give extensions, have an open dialogue with students, bring donuts and are understanding when students needed a break from their workload for a day.
This is the kind of educator everyone should aspire to be. It is not hard to have empathy, and in fact, you are more likely to have more students show up if you are understanding of their circumstances. Just be a human being and try to understand that we all have other things going on outside of your lecture each week.
The professors who care stick with you, and they create a model for what you want to be like in your profession. Every professor was at one point in the same place as all of us, so be kind to your students and please be kind to your professors as well.