Establishing a rapport with your professors is an important part of your educational experience. You might be 1the type of person who finds it easy to communicate with your professors, or you could be the person who is quiet, subdued and has a more difficult time finding ways to communicate. Either way, the tips in this article can help to improve conversations with your professors, as well as your overall educational experience.
Speak Up In Class Class
Time is often the best time to speak up and ask questions directly related to the subject at hand. The material is fresh in your mind, making it easy to grasp the information found in the answers your professor provides. Class time is also time that professors devote to their students, so your professor will never perceive you as being disrespectful of his or her time if you ask questions when class is in session.
Take Advantage of Office Hours
Every professor schedules office hours with the purpose of assisting students with their academic endeavors, so pay attention to when they are and use them. Office hours are a wonderful time to get one-on-one attention from your professor while still being respectful of his or her time. Whenever possible, make an appointment to visit your professor during office hours. If you do this, you will be all but guaranteed exclusive rights to his or her time during your scheduled visit.
Avoid Confronting Your Professor During Unscheduled Times
Sometimes professors are not prepared to talk to their students, and you should make yourself aware of that. If you confront your professor in the hallways to ask a difficult question or speak about more personal information, such as grades, it is likely your professor will view that as rude behavior. While it is fine to ask a quick question at the end of class or stop your professor briefly to clarify a very simple matter in the hallways, never take advantage of this kind of spontaneous communication or it might backfire on you.
When you do find time to speak with your professor, make sure you are prepared. A prepared student has specific questions lined up so they can clearly explain their needs to their professor. Take some time to think about your questions in advance and write yourself notes if necessary. Your professor will appreciate the preparation time you put in and you will avoid the flustered feeling that often accompanies disorganized thoughts.
Not every question needs to be asked in person and, with modern technology, there are many alternatives to face to face communication. Consider emailing questions to your professor or ask them in an online forum if that is available. This provides your professor with the opportunity to answer those questions when it is convenient for him, and it gives you a written record of both the questions and answers. Just make sure to present all your questions in a professional manner and proofread before you hit submit.
If Conflict Should Arise…
Deal With it Professionally The fact is, you will not find every one of your professors easy to communicate with. Some professors are gruff or dismissive and others simply have difficulty getting their points across. Regardless of your professor’s way of speaking, continue to act professionally. Make sure to always respond in a polite way and take appropriate actions in respecting the chain of command if you find it necessary to go above your professor’s head. This will show your professor that you respect him, but also understand your rights as a student.
Adam Greene is a financial writer earning a master of taxation degree online.