How much is a professor’s two cents worth?

"The Nutty Professor"
Photo Courtesy of Google.

If you read the headline of this article, which I know you have, the answer is nada.

Professors think they are smart people, some of them are, don’t get me wrong. Their personal opinions are not the smarts they are paid for though. What is important is their ability to teach, critically analyze, and that they maintain a large up-to-date breadth of knowledge in their subject.

In the classroom, lectures sometimes devolve into rants in which a professor may get some change off their chest. Sometimes a professor adding their opinion is necessary for explaining their map of their own critical analysis of material to help lead you on your way in yours.

This subjective part of the process of teaching, in cases of corruption in the divulging of knowledge, can dominate an otherwise objective matter.

For example, an economics professor may confuse socialism for something useful and judge your analysis of capitalism based on his support of socialism.

Does your opinion really matter when it comes to your grade?

FAMU political science professor and graduate Christopher Daniels said “no it shouldn’t, because grades are supposed to be based on criteria, not what they [students] say. As long as it’s based on fact.”

Luckily for students, most schools have criteria that protects their grades.

Nevertheless, this does not prevent professors from being more critical of opposing opinions. This is only human behavior. Implicit bias.

When it comes to class discussions, the professor can effectively shut down open trade of ideas in order to monopolize the dissemination of ideas. No questions taken. No opposing opinions shared or credited.

Is it fair being that you pay to sit in that professor’s class to hear what they have to say?

Is it unfair because college is supposed to be a place to spread and absorb new ideas freely?

I believe it is fair for a professor to conduct their class in the most efficient way they see fit. I also believe that what is fair is not always efficient.

If anything, a neutral professor that stimulates class discussion from all angles of the topic is the most beneficial to learning. But what do I know? I’m just an undergraduate student.

Love your professors for who they are. If your professor prefers to teach from one side of a subject and doesn’t invite refutation, just quietly go ahead and pass that class by transcribing their remix of the subject onto every assignment.

Preservation over pride. You can sleep well at night knowing that your class’s secret group chat is dropping all the proverbial tea on that professor anyway. “Why does he wear those same shoes everyday?”