Chaitali Botcha is a Senior BIMS Major and Leadership Minor at Texas A&M University
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I can’t help but think back on the many impactful instructors I’ve had from my childhood to my senior year of college and how they made it enjoyable to go to class. They worked hard every day to make our learning experience fun and enriching. In Hindi we say,
“Gurur Brahmā Gurur Viṣṇur Gurur devo Maheśvaraḥ
Guruḥ sākṣāt paraṁ Brahma tasmai śrī gurave namaḥ”
It means that in a student’s life, the guru (teacher) plays an important role, as he is a creator. He may not be a birth giver, but he is a knowledge giver, which is as important as life. He directly or indirectly creates the future. In Hinduism our three main Gods are:
Brahma – creator
Vishnu – solution provider
Maheswara – destroyer
This mantra gives praise and prayer to our teachers for creating intelligent students, providing them with life solutions and destroying any negativity in their lives. Thus, we are comparing teachers to God.
In my last blog post, I talked about how professors were adapting to an online setting during COVID last year and the things I knew students like myself were thankful for. Now, it’s time to switch gears and talk about how they are helping students adapt to an in-person setting.
How can a teacher help a student adapt to an in-person class setting when that’s how traditional school works anyways? It’s important to keep in mind that we were learning remotely for almost two years. This year’s Freshman and Sophomore classes have never stepped foot on their college campus before. Even the Juniors only experienced half a semester of in-person schooling before the pandemic forced them online. It is only the Seniors who have at least a year and half of experience of going to college. But even then, being so used to the comfort of being at home and learning remotely makes it difficult to transition back into the rigor of in-person classes.
Something I’ve noticed professors at my campus doing to help students adjust to an in-person setting is passing out less homework and still keeping some assessments, like quizzes, online. Although exams are in person, professors are generous enough to provide Scantrons for every test. They even encourage students attend sessions with Teaching Assistants or Supplemental Instruction leaders regularly to get acquainted with class material and ask questions. Many of my professors even take about five minutes every class period to check up on how students are doing and give us pep talks or motivational speeches to encourage us to keep going.
The COVID crisis is still very real, and we must continue to be cautious. Some students are still going through hard times because of it, so professors are very understanding and allow make-ups for exams in some cases.
With all that said, I am very thankful to my professors who’ve made a difference in my life. It’s technically not their duty to be there for students. They are professors by obligation and many professors’ true passion lies in their research. However, at TAMU and many colleges throughout the states, professors have taken on a bigger role and become a support system for students both in and out of the classroom.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish each and every instructor a happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Want to hear more student perspectives on what they appreciate about their instructors? Read more posts from the series here on Today’s Learner.