The Vermont Cynic

In Defense of ‘a Professor You Know’

I am writing in response to the article “This Is About A Professor You Know,” written by Andrew Woods and published in the March 9th edition of The Cynic. While it seems that Mr. Woods intended to highlight the shortcomings of professors, in my opinion his article attacking professors served only to illuminate his own ignorance. Woods shows a complete lack or respect for the people he has entrusted with his education. Furthermore, he shows a blatant lack of understanding of the teaching profession, a reliance on stereotypes, and a dearth of evidence to back up his assertions and opinions.According to Woods, “Many professors would have you believe they are significantly important people.” Well, Mr. Woods, in my opinion, shared by many others, professors certainly are significantly important people. If you believe otherwise, why have you entrusted them with your education? Also of professors, Woods claims, “Among them you can find poorest thinkers and the worst speakers.” This has not been my experience, or the experience of others I spoke with. In the English department alone I have recently enjoyed the dynamic and energetic teaching of Todd McGowan, the enthusiastic and passionate lectures of Andrew Barnaby, the humorous and enlightening workshops of David Huddle, and the thought-provoking discussions in Lisa Schnell’s class. I look forward to taking classes with other professors in this especially strong department. I have also enjoyed professors in other departments. I do not believe my standards for good teaching are simply lower than those of Mr. Woods. !I attended a competitive private school with an excellent teaching staff. I am extremely pleased with the caliber of professors at this school. In fact, overall I find the professors here even more impressive than those at my previous institution – a smaller private college sometimes more highly regarded than UVM.Woods writes that professors “serve to catalogue and process all of their business clients,” and that they “have regular hours for their clients and present semester portfolio analyses (grades) in much the same fashion as their corporate counterparts.” I think Mr. Woods would be hard-pressed to find many professors who think of their students or advisees as “clients.” In my experience, professors are caring people who appreciate the individuality of their students. Also, many times professors help students with not only academic situations, but with personal problems, as well.It is an ignorant stereotype that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Teaching is one of the most under-appreciated and underpaid professions. Woods assumes that professors “love this environment, and rightly so. Without it they would have to work summers and hold standard office hours every day of the week.” Is it possible that Woods imagines professors enjoying relaxing summer afternoons on beaches, sipping exotic drinks and tanning? Professors do work during the summer, although that work often goes unappreciated. Many professors teach summer courses here at UVM or at other institutions. They do research in their fields, prepare and submit work for publication, attend conferences and lectures, and work hard to prepare new classes and reinvigorate old ones. They must stay current not only in their chosen fields, but also with new methods of teaching and theories of education. In addition to this, many teachers must work second jobs in order to supplement their income.I’m sorry that Andrew Woods apparently has not had many positive experiences with professors. I hope that professors and others who read his article do not stereotype college students the way that Mr. Woods has stereotyped teachers. I, for one, would be embarrassed to be placed in the same category as him.

In Defense of a Professor You Know

I am writing in response to the article “This Is About A Professor You Know,” written by Andrew Woods and published in the March 9th edition of The Cynic. While it seems that Mr. Woods intended to highlight the shortcomings of professors, in my opinion his article attacking professors served only to illuminate his own ignorance. Woods shows a complete lack or respect for the people he has entrusted with his education. Furthermore, he shows a blatant lack of understanding of the teaching profession, a reliance on stereotypes, and a dearth of evidence to back up his assertions and opinions.

According to Woods, “Many professors would have you believe they are significantly important people.” Well, Mr. Woods, in my opinion, shared by many others, professors certainly are significantly important people. If you believe otherwise, why have you entrusted them with your education? Also of professors, Woods claims, “Among them you can find poorest thinkers and the worst speakers.” This has not been my experience, or the experience of others I spoke with. In the English department alone I have recently enjoyed the dynamic and energetic teaching of Todd McGowan, the enthusiastic and passionate lectures of Andrew Barnaby, the humorous and enlightening workshops of David Huddle, and the thought-provoking discussions in Lisa Schnell’s class. I look forward to taking classes with other professors in this especially strong department. I have also enjoyed professors in other departments. I do not believe my standards for good teaching are simply lower than those of Mr. Woods. I attended a competitive private school with an excellent teaching staff. I am extremely pleased with the caliber of professors at this school. In fact, overall I find the professors here even more impressive than those at my previous institution – a smaller private college sometimes more highly regarded than UVM.

Woods writes that professors “serve to catalogue and process all of their business clients,” and that they “have regular hours for their clients and present semester portfolio analyses (grades) in much the same fashion as their corporate counterparts.” I think Mr. Woods would be hard-pressed to find many professors who think of their students or advisees as “clients.” In my experience, professors are caring people who appreciate the individuality of their students. Also, many times professors help students with not only academic situations, but with personal problems, as well.

It is an ignorant stereotype that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Teaching is one of the most under-appreciated and underpaid professions. Woods assumes that professors “love this environment, and rightly so. Without it they would have to work summers and hold standard office hours every day of the week.” Is it possible that Woods imagines professors enjoying relaxing summer afternoons on beaches, sipping exotic drinks and tanning? Professors do work during the summer, although that work often goes unappreciated. Many professors teach summer courses here at UVM or at other institutions. They do research in their fields, prepare and submit work for publication, attend conferences and lectures, and work hard to prepare new classes and reinvigorate old ones. They must stay current not only in their chosen fields, but also with new methods of teaching and theories of education. In addition to this, many teachers must work second jobs in order to supplement their income.

I’m sorry that Andrew Woods apparently has not had many positive experiences with professors. I hope that professors and others who read his article do not stereotype college students the way that Mr. Woods has stereotyped teachers. I, for one, would be embarrassed to be placed in the same category as him.

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In Defense of ‘a Professor You Know’