Editorial: Personal professors have the greatest impact on students

The classroom is the source of learning, yet not all knowledge can be found in textbooks. Professors have the unique opportunity of bringing a new, authoritative voice to the classroom; however, much of this voice is exhausted with textbook readings and exam preparation, rather than the more integral things in life.

For example, primarily back when the elections were taking place, politics and our personal opinions were at the forefront of our minds.

Students throughout campus were in constant conversation about their liberal or conservative persuasions, yet teachers rarely, if ever, brought such conversation to the classroom.

Granted, many of them freed some time for student-to-student debates, but professors, for the most part, pleaded the fifth.

Students establish more of a connection with professors who are “real” to them. If a professor walks in late due to car trouble, or mentions his or her son’s soccer game in class, the students see a different side of the professor – a side that will often become the bridge for a student to overcome the professor-teacher barrier.

If a student feels comfortable e-mailing a teacher and asking to sit down for a cup of coffee, chances are, the professor has made a profound enough impact on the student.

Office hours are set for the convenience of the students to visit professors with questions or concerns, but that does not mean that they cannot step out of the academic realm and become more of a confidant.

The most valuable people in a student’s life are those who they can connect with the most. Oftentimes, this companionship is found in peers, classmates, or close family members. But what would be the harm in having a peer-like companionship with a professor?

The connection established between a student and professor is important long before and presumably long after the time when letters of recommendation are requested and when job connections are being looked for.

Some of the most valuable information in life can be that which is learned from a professor – and that is not to say that it was ever published in a textbook.