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    23 Secrets Your Professors Will Never Tell You

    There could be a 13-year-old grading your paper.

    We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what it's like being a professor. Here are some of the best submissions.

    1. Yes, they bitch about their students to one another (sometimes around a bottle of wine).


    We all talk to each other. If you stand out as having been a really awful student or we can tell you don't put any effort into your work, that will get around to others in the department and you'll get a reputation.


    Yes, we complain about some students during wine-soaked bitch sessions. But we have also cried with joy at seeing students learn and tackle tough concepts. We genuinely want every person to succeed.


    2. They really do hate exams — and assigning essays is more painful for them than you.


    We hate exams, too. They're difficult to make and a pain in the butt to check. You think answering one is nightmarish? Try making one. Then checking nearly 400 students' worth of it.


    The thing I wish my students realized is that each term we can have around 120-150 students between our four to five classes. That means every time I assign you a 10-page paper, I'm assigning myself 1,200 -1,500 pages of essays to read — so stop groaning! This is going to hurt me way more than it hurts you!


    3. Extra effort can bump you up a grade or two.


    We freely bump students into higher grade brackets if they've shown a *consistent* willingness to learn and improve (not just the week before finals), even if the numerical grade didn't quite get them there. So stop obsessing over numbers, folks. Half the effort is getting to know your professor and earnestly trying to learn.


    4. They have no sympathy for your questionable spending habits.

    Universal Pictures/Apatow Productions

    My level of exasperation when students complain about the costs of required art supplies after I tell them where to get them cheapest, when they need them, etc., with several weeks notice. I hear all the time, "I can't afford a $10 sketchbook and a #2 pencil." Right. But you do have money for cigarettes, a Starbucks coffee every day, and you spent most of your student loan check on a multi-color tattoo.


    5. Yes, they read the mean comments and harsh criticism on the evaluations and take them to heart.

    Cartoon Network

    Please remember that we are human beings and that we have feelings. Yes, cruel comments on end-of-term evals hurt, and yes, I always have a glass of wine or two when I read my evaluations for the first time. The most helpful things you can do on end-of-term evaluations are to give *constructive* feedback (blind praise is as useless as wild insults, although the former is more pleasant to read than the latter) and follow Wil Wheaton’s rule: don’t be a dick.


    6. Most professors love helping and talking to their students.

    Warner Bros

    Don't be afraid to talk to your professors. So many students are afraid or intimated, but most of us like talking with students and want to help them succeed. While our time is limited, we really want to help our students to learn.


    7. They feel a sense of pride when their students have their "aha" moment.


    I love those "Oh" moments, when their faces light up when they suddenly understand a complex theory or the solution to a problem. It really validates all the hard work and effort I put into planning my classes.


    8. Some professors might only read the essays on final exams for students in between letter grades.

    Disney Channel

    If the final is a paper instead of an exam, we really only extensively grade the ones from students on the cusp from one letter grade to another.


    9. Office hours is the perfect time to bombard them with any and all questions.


    Please come to office hours and help sessions! We are in this business because we want to help students learn and explore our subject. Office hours and small group study sessions are among the best ways to accomplish this. If you are one student in a 60- to 125-student class (or larger!), how much individual attention can I give you during a lecture? Not terribly much! But if you come to help sessions or office hours, we can sit down and talk about your *specific* stumbling blocks and problem areas and better get you on the road to success.


    10. Comments are crucial to the learning process and just as important as grades.

    Gold/Miller Production

    Please read through comments and use them to learn from your mistakes! I say this as a former student who felt so frustrated at not getting A's that I just threw away disappointing returned assignments without even reading through the comments. Big mistake!


    11. As it turns out, they are humans, too!


    We often have to work multiple jobs, working 16-hour days just to make ends meet. Why do we do this? We love teaching, we love our discipline, and we believe in higher education to better the community. We try our best to make time for extended office hours and get your papers graded back quickly, but oftentimes there are not enough hours in the day. Please be patient with your instructors – they are doing their best!


    12. Making an effort to get to know your professors could help you out in the long run.

    Columbia Pictures

    Getting to know your profs matters. I may go the extra mile if you've let me in a little.


    13. They only remember the names of the good students and the bad students. Everyone in between is a blur.


    I know the names of two kinds of students: those who are doing very badly in my class, and those who are interested, engaged, and making an effort to do well. Please don't sit there for 16 weeks, with your hand down and mouth closed, and expect me to know who you are on the last day of class.

    —Rebecca Gibson, Facebook

    14. They pretend they don't see you on your phone during class because it hurts their feelings.

    TV Land

    It kind of hurts when they just sit there and don't take notes. Some are absorbing, but you know not everyone is. It totally hurts when they are doing other stuff, not paying attention at all, and then pretend I don't notice.

    —Clair Warnicke, Facebook

    15. It's ok if you're experiencing personal challenges – just keep them in the loop.

    The Walt Disney Company / Via The

    In order to help professors help you, let them know *right away* if you are having serious personal struggles. Explaining what is going on after the paper is already late is not a great strategy.

    —Kristie Campana, Facebook

    16. Bloom's Taxonomy is a gold mine for extra credit.

    The CW Network

    I wish I had known about it when I was in undergrad because it would have helped me prioritize my studying. It is basically a hierarchical theory of knowledge, starting at the most basic level with memorizing information and culminating in the most complex, which is using your knowledge to create new ideas.


    17. No, shy students don't get the shorter end of the stick. They just have to seek out other opportunities to make their voices heard.


    A tip for shy students: come to office hours or stay after class for a bit. I'm always glad to talk to students about anything; it doesn't have to be class-related. And working hard on the assignments, particularly if they're opinion-based, can make a person who doesn't talk much really stand out.

    —Rebecca Gibson, Facebook

    18. Poorly worded emails can throw them off track.

    Email etiquette is a real thing! At the very least you need to include your name and what class you are in. I have multiple classes with many students and so often students do not include their name or class and I have to try to look them up. And be respectful! Especially if you are asking for something (an extension, a letter of recommendation, etc.).


    19. It makes their jobs easier when everyone does the reading.


    When it comes right down to it, learning should not be a passive experience. For most students, me talking at you is much less useful than you taking an active role in exploring the subject, with my expert guidance. THIS is why I ask you to do the reading before you come to class. The reading is what gives you the vocabulary, the basic ideas, needed to have a conversation where we can get at understanding and applying the ideas for the class period. Once you have a basic understanding of the concepts, we can shore up problem areas and help you master the subject.


    20. Campus resources are like ~free~ tutors – use them accordingly.

    Tutoring services and the writing center are included in your tuition. Help your professors out and try to get help if you need it.


    21. Preparing lesson plans and lectures takes A LOT of work.


    Most students don't realize the amount of work and hours that go into planning each lesson: researching, reading, planning, thinking of assignments, doing presentations, etc. For every hour of class I give, I usually spend five to ten hours behind the scenes, sometimes a lot more — and that's not even counting the time I spend grading papers and tests.


    22. A 13-year-old could be grading the paper you pulled an all-nighter to complete.


    My mom's a professor and the one thing her students NEVER know is that I've graded parts of their exams. It's been a tradition in our family to help grade exams and finals since we were around the age of 13, and none of her students know.


    23. They understand some of their fellow professors are actually terrible.


    Just like you sometimes have terrible coworkers, I do too. Like in any job, sometimes other professors are rude, lazy, or incompetent. I hate to be lumped in with them — I try to work really hard to make sure I'm respectful to students and do what I can to help them achieve success on their own. Don't lump me in with the bad ones!

    —Kristie Campana, Facebook

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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