You can’t serve them if you don’t know them. So that means no matter how large the class, we have to know who we’re talking to. Various professors approach that in various ways....
You can’t serve them if you don’t know them. So that means no matter how large the class, we have to know who we’re talking to. Various professors approach that in various ways, but I think dedicated professors all over this campus, in one way or another, find out who their students are, find out what their concerns are. Maybe it’s short bios they have them write. Maybe it’s 'What’s the most pressing issue going on in your life?' Maybe it’s taking the opportunity to invite one student, or a small group of students, throughout the semester, to their office just to chat for a few minutes. ... Representative sampling will often serve our purposes well, so in a class of 200, we may not be able to meet and know each individual personally, but by meeting a few of them we can kind of know typical issues and typical struggles. In smaller classes such as I teach, I think it’s my duty to know them more intimately. When you know people, then you have the basis to begin to serve them as people. So that would be a starting point: know your students as individuals, as persons, their fears, their dreams, their troubles, their successes, their background. That is the beginning of being able to follow encouragement we all recently received: 'this semester, try teaching students, not the course.'