I am already looking forward to April 14 on the calendar: That is the day I dine with one of my students thanks to the extremely generous Arts and Sciences Take Your Professor to Lunch program.
The program allows any undergraduate student–or group of students–in A&S to “buy” lunch for a professor at any campus location that takes meal blocks, and gives us a wonderful opportunity to hang out and talk away from class.
When we made our plans yesterday, I was surprised when another student said she had heard about the program but had never done it because it seemed a bit “creepy” asking professors to take time out of his or her life “just” to have lunch with students.
I was so glad she said that so I could tell you all this: NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!!!
The highlight of every week for me is when a student asks to meet outside of class, to talk about life and let me get to know them better. You are wonderful, interesting, complex people before you are students, yet we are often so locked into our respective roles, that we never get the chance to really “meet” each other–let alone get to know each other.
When I first started teaching, I was not not sure the protocol of interacting outside of class, but my experiences in the Second Year Transformational Experience Program–STEP–have helped me recognize the value of one-on-one, personal time with students. This is when barriers get broken down, stories get shared, relationships get built.
Professors get hungry. Many of us love coffee. And many of us love even more spending time with you and discovering how extraordinary you are.
Today I’ll meet one student at Panera for lunch and another at the 18th Avenue Library for afternoon coffee. Before the semester is over, I aspire to meet with many more.
Hope you are one. 🙂