Higher standards for educators

Courtesy of pixelperfectdigital.com

Courtesy of pixelperfectdigital.com

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Rachel Doose, Columnist
A friend of mine recently expressed her frustration regarding what we are supposed to expect, or not expect, from our professors.
She felt that some of her professors didn’t offer her the support and help she wanted, especially when the class reached its height of difficulty.
When she spoke of this problem to others, she was frequently met with responses along the lines of, “Well, that’s just college.” These replies brushed away her issues and merely served to elevate her frustration.
Do we have a right as college students to have high expectations when it comes to the level of support we receive from our educators or do we need to take it down a notch?
I think we all have professors that we love here at Illinois Wesleyan University. Many of them fulfill our expectations and even go beyond them. It’s pretty cool when you have a professor that is willing to sit down one-on-one with you and discuss a paper you wrote or a test you took, giving advice based on your individual performance.
But should this support be considered the “extra mile” or just the norm?
Some of us come across professors that we wish would be more open to helping their students, especially if we are struggling in the class.
Personally, I don’t think it is outrageous to expect this help from our professors.
When we enrolled at Illinois Wesleyan, we chose a small school with an impressive teacher-to-student ratio that implied an intimate and accessible educational experience.
Many of the professors here live up to that expectation, but when we come across someone who does not, I think we have a right to be disappointed.
Doesn’t IWU want to be the exception, not the rule? Why should we live up to the collegiate norm of distant professors and an education that can seem more like an island rather than a community?
I think as an institution we do a fabulous job of breaking that norm. But when we are faced with a situation that leaves us feeling alone in our educational pursuits, I think we are right in saying that it is a problem.
We shouldn’t have to accept things that make us unhappy about our education just because it is the normal college experience for some.
None of us think that a professor’s life is going to revolve solely on our personal education. But it is reasonable to think that if we make the effort to come to a professor’s office hours or make an appointment, they will be open to giving us advice on how to maintain or improve our performance.
As students, we want to do the absolute best we can, and we want to take full advantage of our education. Often, we need the help of our professors to push us in the right direction, and I don’t think our desire for help should be met with resistance.
As a university, I think we are more than capable of overcoming all of the negative stereotypes that can surround college education styles. In many cases, we already have.
If we continue to support our fellow students when they have problems and reward the professors that do go above and beyond, we will no doubt be even more proud to be Titans.