We are all guilty of falling into the sucking hole of the average in our academic roles. Mastering knowledge in a particular discipline is an endurance race, not a sprint. That is why motivation can so easily be drained from our very feet. As students, we become mindless in a room of knowledge. We chase a grade instead of mastery. We are looking for success and achievement, which leads us to look for this manifestation to what it all means, the “A.” Professors can be ensnared in much the same way. Their job is in every way a never-ending marathon of teaching to the average student drained of motivation. Do you think this isn’t taxing?
I cannot speak on the perspective of the professor, but I can speak from the perspective of the student. I can tell you what I want in a professor and what exactly engages me. I know this only because I have experienced it before. I know because the professors that have me thirsting for that extra drop of information shook me at my very core.
I want a professor willing to make noise. I want them to slam desks, notebooks, rulers, and information. I want the professor to offend me. I want them to excite my imagination and help me connect the dots to the real world. I want a professor willing to remind me that the outside world is tied to academia, not a separate entity.
Why do I want to be offended? If we do not experience discomfort do we ever grow? A baby endures pain when teeth are allowed to settle in their mouth. Is this any fun for the infant? Of course not. This takes place because if the baby, as well as the parent, wishes to efficiently survive it must make this sacrifice. I want a professor to offend my senses so that I am awakened. I want my mind engaged and cognitive dissonance to run wild in my mind. This is how we learn. Not the memorization of words on the page in a comfortable environment that has my eyelids straining to reach my brow. All for the sake of effort steeped in a meaning that may be lost on me. I want a professor to call me an idiot and drive me forward with the same words. I need a professor to be fearless in the face of political correctness and tell me what I truly need to do, not what is safe to be said.
We need to be awakened by the jolting feelings, thoughts, and sounds of discomfort otherwise we are lost in a world that has nothing.