Nowadays, it may be old-fashioned and arguably forbidden for a student to give an apple to a teacher. Still, teachers say a mutually productive relationship should be established in the beginning.
John Warford, an assistant professor in the School of Business and Industry, said showing interest early in the semester by participating in classroom discussions and taking notes are practical ways to build strong relationships with teachers.
Daniel Sprott, 20, said he sits in the front of the class, raises his hand and actively participates in the lesson.
“It is important to let them know your face and name,” Sprott said.
The junior biology pre-med student from Houston said familiarity could give students an edge when the percentage is straddling letter grades.
“If you get a 79.25, in the end it may encourage them to round it up,” he said.
But teachers are trained to know the difference between sincerely interested students and students who are seeking participation points.
“It’s not all about just raising your hand and trying to be noticed,” Warford said. “Teachers can see when a student is truly engaged.”
Warford said he grades his students everyday, analyzing body language and the depth of their involvement.
Other professors base grades solely on student effort.
Hubert Kleinpeter, a sociology professor, said students can talk to him after class, e-mail him daily and put him on their buddy lists, but if they consistently neglect course obligations, their grades will reflect that.
“It’s no secret,” said Kleinpeter. “Students only have to come to class regularly, turn in their assignments, do well on tests and they’ll pass.”
Kleinpeter said some students abuse the advantages teachers offer such as essay extensions, which are more detrimental to the student in the long run.
“Students I’ve never seen before will come to me on the last day of class and try to turn in three or four papers that were due several months ago,”
Kleinpeter said. “Why should I help them out?”
Warford said education should go beyond trying to increase G.P.A. or worrying “if it’s going to be on the test.”
He said if students are not striving to learn simply for the value of learning, they will not develop intellectually.
This progression is not effortless. Warford said students must be consistent, focused and self-disciplined to reach understanding.
“It’s called a university for a reason,” Warford said. “We are always expanding as one unit, but each student must be willing to open his or her mind as teachers are willing to feed it.”
Contact Russell Nichols at firstname.lastname@example.org.