Can Professors Make or Break a Class?

Professors are a fundamental part of the classroom experience; because of them, students can further their education. However, this statement is under the condition that the professor actually teaches. Sometimes, no professor is better than a lousy one.

I would prefer taking a class that is online asynchronous and teach myself the material than have a professor do a poor job of communicating the material. I don’t say this without experience; during the height of the pandemic, this was my reality for some of my coursework.

I have taken three classes that were online asynchronous, receiving marks of As and Bs with little help from the professor.

I am sure that almost every student has had at least one class where a professor did not engage with them nearly as much as they should.

Unfortunately, I have had my fair share of poor professors at Monmouth. I think it is unlikely for a student to have all great teachers in a single semester. I maybe had one semester where I liked all my professors.

For example, this semester I have a professor who doesn’t do a great job applying the material we learn in class to assignments, quizzes, and exams. It’s like I am being taught one thing in class, and then when they assign me work, it is different from what we learned.

This is why sites such as Rate My Professor exist. I only started using the website last year to help me choose my professors.

When I first started at Monmouth, I didn’t think a professor could dictate the success one would have in a course. I was under the impression that I would simply adapt to that professor’s style of teaching and my hard work would pay off. As you can imagine, this was quite naive of me.

During my first year at Monmouth, I nearly failed a course because the professor did not teach the course’s content. I learned my lesson, to say the least.

William Beauchamp, a junior dual education and history major, said, “A professor can absolutely make or break a class for a student. Teaching relies heavily on the professor; if the professor isn’t great at what they do, then the student isn’t learning anything.”

Beauchamp continued, “Engagement is a huge factor in teaching; if you engage with the class you teach, the students will be more cooperative and learn the material you are presenting to them.”

Nicholas Messina, Specialist Professor for the Department of Communication, said, “One hundred percent, a professor can make or break a class. When a professor is not enthusiastic or engaged in the classroom, and they go through the teacher’s routine, students pick up on that; the student won’t care about a class if the professor doesn’t care.”