Professors: Beating the Motivation into Students since 1890


One of the most important parts of being a student is having classes. One of the most important parts of those classes is actually learning from them. One of the most important parts of learning in those classes is actually listening in these classes.

That’s where you lost me.

Through my years here at NDSU, I’ve found that some classes are just near impossible to actually pay attention to. I’m sure I’m not alone here, as I’ve seen more than my fair share of people doing the “I’m falling asleep, then five seconds of clarity, then back to sleep” head bob. That’s why, as a student, it’s imperative to learn the different ways professors make you participate in class.

For example, have you ever had that one teacher who just really wants someone to answer a question, and they wait and wait and force that awkward silence for way too long? Yeah, I’ve found this is the most common approach. Just brute force your students’ laziness until someone is willing to swallow their pride and speak up.

There’s also the similar, yet slightly more aggressive, “I sound like I’m about to whip my markers at you” approach. This one usually works a lot faster. Like many a dictator before them, the professor rules over his classroom with an iron fist until somebody reads a definition out of their notes and everyone can go back to sleep.  To any professors reading: please do not actually hit, beat, check, slap, maim, whip or whip things at students. This isn’t the good old days of a ruler to the knuckles (if only).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find the joking teachers or the news section. (Hehe, it’s a “The Spectrum” joke.) These are the ones who open class with some bad jokes. Note that “bad” and “great” can often mean the same thing if you’re willing to let them. “What do you get when you cross an elephant with a fish? Swimming trunks.” Maassel, what a gem.

Your professors are trying, be it well received or not. They each have their own strategies and tricks, but they all just want to you to pay attention for like ten minutes. I’m certainly not innocent here, but maybe it’d be best for all involved if you just tried answering a question or laughing at a joke once in a while. You know, or see if you can get them to whip a marker at you. It may be too late for you, but I’d sure be paying attention.

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