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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Professors, the lecture hall is not your soapbox.

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DTH Photo Illustration. Professors play a big part in the college experience inside and outside the classroom.

There is a problem. 

There is a problem if you choose to take courses based on the legitimacy and proficiency of a professor at the expense of your own academic passions and interests. 

There is a problem if you feel the need to rely on Rate My Professor during your enrollment period. 

There is a problem if your professor shows up to class unprepared. Meanwhile, you are expected to come with videos watched, articles read, pristine notes taken and a moderate understanding of the day's lesson before it has even begun. 

There is a problem if your professor holds their office hours on Zoom in their car and rushes you off the phone when you need legitimate help. 

There is a problem if the post-COVID-19 era has made it "okay" for you to be getting the bulk of your education from YouTube videos or pre-recorded lectures.

And I know we all acknowledge the problem. It's table talk. Chit chat. Merely gossip. But it never leaves the quarters of your comforting and confined lunch spot. 

And this isn't just a minuscule complaint or a minor inconvenience. This is your education — the thing that gets the most of your time, your attention and your money. 

There is a problem, and just because you feel like your voice won't be heard is no excuse to keep your mouth shut. Because I promise, you are not alone. And it's time we start talking about it. 

Like any problem, you are able to identify that something is wrong because you know what it feels and looks like for it to be right. 

I've had several excellent professors here at UNC. They love what they do and are passionate about developing relationships with their students while helping them excel. The professors that have positively impacted my experience at UNC make themselves available. They will find time to help you. And they will come prepared every single time.

The best professors I've had know me. They see me walking on campus and wave in my direction. One of my former professors saw me in Panera Bread one day, came up to my table and checked in with me to see how I was doing. This was six months after I had taken his class. 

These relationships are cultivated through interactive learning. Not by watching videos, and certainly not by listening to a lecture for every minute of the class period. 

A classroom isn't a stage for a professor's knowledge and opinions. A classroom is where we go to engage in intellectual discussions. The only way we will retain information is by being included in the conversation. 

If you are invested in your students, it shows, and I guarantee you that we feel a significant difference. Ultimately, when you decide to commit to a college or university, you are giving them the responsibility to foster your education. 

That's a big deal. 

I came to UNC with the confidence that my education would be prioritized. I have put my trust in the hands of this institution. I understand education is going to have hills and troughs; not every instructor is going to be my favorite. However, it is my responsibility, as a student, to voice my frustrations and concerns. 

Professors, it's time to show that you are for the students whose paths you cross. This means putting the same preparedness and effort that students do into class time, as well as office hours and outside help.

It's time to stop the chit-chat and start talking about this like it's our future. Because it is. 

@oliviahenley5

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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