The 9 habits of highly ef­fec­tive pro­fes­sors

Flip­ping the ta­bles and find­ing out what stu­dents want from their in­struc­tors.

The Coast - - ON CAMPUS - BY VIC­TO­RIA WAL­TON

As a chem­istry and math­e­mat­ics stu­dent at Dal­housie, Con­nor La­mont’s classes are of­ten very the­ory-heavy and dif­fi­cult to grasp. So he likes pro­fes­sors who can sim­plify those lessons. “If a pro­fes­sor is able to liken it to a very un­der­stand­able thing, then that makes it a lot eas­ier to grasp the con­cepts,” he says. La­mont also likes hon­esty. “Some­body who doesn’t bull­shit,” he says. “Very straight up and they’re not go­ing to lie to you, but at the same time they’re go­ing to help you in ev­ery way they can if you’re will­ing to put in the work.” Matt Pa­que­tte, a his­tory and Rus­sian stu­dent at Dal­housie, says he loves the class in­ter­ac­tion in smaller classes, but those are usu­ally the same cour­ses where profs are slow on re­turn­ing grades. “I hate sit­ting there, and even if you’re not stressed about fail­ing or pass­ing, it’s still an­noy­ing hav­ing com­pletely blank grades on your stu­dent por­tal for three weeks.” Saint Mary’s busi­ness stu­dent Safaa Harhash thinks it’s im­por­tant profs are good com­mu­ni­ca­tors with their stu­dents. If not, “it makes you hate the class that you’re go­ing to, and that way you’re not go­ing to be study­ing for it as much as you would if you liked the prof.” Quinn MacIsaac, a so­cial work stu­dent at Dal, tries to avoid pro­fes­sors that are dis­or­ga­nized. “I hate when the prof is still fig­ur­ing out the as­sign­ment as you’re fig­ur­ing it out,” MacIsaac says, “and then in the end you might end up get­ting a bad mark be­cause you didn’t know what their ex­pec­ta­tions were.”

Danielle McCreadie, a jour­nal­ism stu­dent at the Univer­sity of King’s Col­lege, ap­pre­ci­ates an un­der­stand­ing pro­fes­sor. “You’ll see some­one break an arm or get a con­cus­sion and they’ll get the time off for it,” McCreadie says. “But be­cause men­tal ill­ness is some­what of an in­vis­i­ble in­jury, it’s of­ten just, ‘Well you seem fine so I don’t see what the prob­lem is.’” “Be friendly with the stu­dents,” says Mo­ham­mad Al­saleem, busi­ness stu­dent at SMU, who likes when profs don’t take them­selves too se­ri­ously. “Don’t be some­one who’s just at the front of the class, with no smile. Don’t try to be the big cheese in the class.” Mount Saint Vin­cent re­li­gious stud­ies stu­dent Emma Wells says when pro­fes­sors are in­ter­ested in what they teach it helps what they’re talk­ing about make sense to the class. Thank­fully a lot of profs at the Mount are just “big old nerds.” “Some of the profs, they chal­lenge stu­dents if they’re go­ing to pass the course or not,” says MSVU busi­ness stu­dent Faisal Al­sham­mary, over a pile of study ma­te­ri­als in the li­brary. “Which is what I have right now.”

SIM­PLIFY THOSE LESSONS

KEEP IT HON­EST GET YOUR GRADES IN ON TIME

BE AP­PROACH­ABLE

STAY OR­GA­NIZED

HAVE SOME FLEX

CRACK A SMILE

TALK NERDY TO ME

WE’RE NOT YOUR EN­EMY

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