After several years of teaching, I’ve noticed that my approach to education may differ from what you’ve experienced up to this point. I’ve also seen the same mistakes and assumptions made over and over so I thought I’d write this note to you in the hope that you don’t make them again.
No matter if I’m your Professor/Teacher/Instructor I have one goal for you and that is for you to be inspired and learn.
While you will need to memorize definitions and terms in the subjects that I lecture on, the real test for me is that you understand what they mean beyond the words that make them up.
The world is filled with people who earned high GPA’s because they were good at memorizing. I’d instead ensure that when you leave my classroom, you know how to think beyond an exam page and fully understand what you came to learn.
Grades matter, but I’ve always said that I prefer streets smarts over book smarts. I think that is why I believe in the importance of liberal arts being a component of every student’s learning adventure. I wanted that for myself when I went to college, and today I’m getting to help shape that for future generations.
I come to class every day prepared to answer your questions and discuss current events relevant to what we are learning about. When I’m teaching a business course, I want you to know what is happening in the business world. If we are talking about marketing, it is important you see the latest ad campaign making waves.
I hope you’ll come to class prepared to learn. I don’t care if you use a notebook, laptop or another device to capture what I share. Everyone learns differently, and I understand that.
The only reason my lectures are done in presentation software is that my writing is messy and my spelling atrocious, and I want neither of those getting in the way of your learning.
I don’t share my lecture notes because I’ve learned that means students don’t believe they have to pay attention in class. I know that by you taking down the notes yourself based on what is on the screen and what comes out of my mouth that you learn more.
Please, come ready to talk, question and discuss. I hate lecturing the entire class as much as you do so the more conversation we have, the more fun it is for everyone in the room.
Don’t ever think you are the only one with a question or thought on the topic. I purposely ask over and over “does this make sense?” or “are there any questions?” to spark conversation beyond the slides.
My classrooms are safe spaces intended for civil debates and conversations about the topic at hand. We do not all need to agree, but we will all show respect to others and their ideas.
Homework is essential, and I try not to give more than is necessary. I expect you to turn it in on time. You’ve been writing your name on assignments since you first learned to write it in crayon, so I will remind you multiple times that I take off points if you don’t put your name on assignments as a college student.
Proofread, spellcheck and edit your assignment before you turn it in. If I open up your file and there are red squiggles under words, I know you didn’t care enough to fix the most basic of issues.
I expect to see your face in class every day, but I know things come up and early morning classes are harder to make than others. While I may not take attendance, I do notice who doesn’t show up on a regular basis, and missing class will not help you.
When life starts throwing curveballs at you, and it begins to get in the way of your learning, please let me know. Don’t wait until after an assignment is due to come to me and raise issues.
After the fact it is an excuse, beforehand it is a reason.
My job is to help you learn. To do whatever it takes to make that happen.
If a topic doesn’t make sense or you are struggling you need to let me know.
I’m an email or text away, and my door is always open to help you if you ask for it.
I can’t tell if a bad homework assignment is you being lazy or being confused unless we talk about it beforehand. Please don’t ever hesitate to speak to me about struggles you are having. I don’t need to know the details of what is happening outside of the classroom, but knowing that you are going through something helps me try to help you.
One last thing you need to know is that I was not a great student. I procrastinated, looked for the shortcuts and even overslept and missed the first half of a final exam once. Because of this, I have no tolerance for trying to get around the system, cheating or any form of plagiarism. If something feels off, I will double check it and verify.
I love teaching. It is how I hope to spend the final block of my career, and you are part of that.
I want you to learn and will do whatever I can to make that happen. My office door and my inbox are forever open to any of my students.
I want you to earn a good grade in my class and be successful in whatever career you choose. If there is ever anything, I can do to help from the moment you first sit down in my classroom to years down the road I will do so.
It is an honor to teach you, and I’m thankful every day that I’ve been given a chance to do so.
Make it a great day.
- Professor Chapman