Sometimes our teachers seem like those boring people you have to listen to for a couple of hours a week, but they do not just teach us; they do research and projects on the side that students don’t often recognize.
Professors spend hours teaching different courses all week while making time to grade our work, answer our emails and set hours to help us if we are having trouble with anything. They do all this while maintaining personal lives and completing other job requirements.
Many professors spend almost a decade getting a degree in whatever field they want to teach. They spend so many years learning all that they can, just to give us their knowledge.
Other professors may also spend years working industry jobs in various fields.
Theresa Pauli, who now teaches in the Mass Communications department, worked in the St. Louis television industry for 30 years. She covered many events, including the Ferguson protests in 2014. Now she works as a broadcast engineer helping manage equipment and teaching students. She also uses her connections in the industry to help students find jobs after graduation.
Besides teaching, many professors are required to do research. They spend time developing studies and writing scholarly papers or books in order to receive tenure. They put hours of work into these projects while continuing all of their other work.
Some professors take different routes. Candace Hall, who is an Assistant Professor of the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior, recently produced an award-winning documentary. Instead of going along with what is considered normal in academia, she used video production to talk about what she wanted to in a more accessible way.
Lots of professors also spend their time giving students real-world experiences. Across the different departments, professors will spend their time planning trips for their students to get more hands-on learning. These programs range from learning about the criminal justice system in Ireland and Northern Ireland to surgical missions to Ghana or Honduras.
Our professors do all this work while maintaining their personal lives. Many teachers have families that they need to take care of or other jobs to which they dedicate their time.
So, the next time you are cursing your teacher for assigning you an essay or you start falling asleep in their class, remember they are not just the people you are forced to listen to every week. They have spent so much of their lives learning what they are teaching you right now and they have dedicated their lives to teaching it.
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