Professors are people too

A couple years ago I was humbled (okay, a couple minutes ago I was too, but that’s another story) … when I realized that my professors were so caring, authentic, and well, human. This epiphany moment? I was walking across campus and two different profs, a couple minutes apart, asked us how our son was doing, and how work was going for me. After our conversation, I walked away asking myself: “Do I ever ask how their family is? Do I expand my care for them beyond the classroom?”

Times like that are evidence of God’s grace, for He could have showed from the heavens, “You are an idiot! Pray for these men and women who mentor you!” Yet, He chose to show me through a subtle process that through my own folly and self-absorbed view of seminary I was forgetting to recognize our profs are people too.

One of the caring professors who paused to ask about us is our President. Even though Kari and I were and are co-TA’s for his theology course, I hadn’t realized the great place of intercession we could play in his life and that of his family. He prays for us; do we pray for him?

Always giving, seldom receiving

Professors give and give and speak and counsel non-stop. While we get 10-minute breaks during class, they rarely get a moment without a question about the syllabus, a recommendation for a book, or most of all, request for special considerations for a homework assignment. (Not to mention some of the ridiculous questions we ask in class!) We take and take and take. They give and give and give.

Many if not most of our beloved professors serve in some leadership capacity in their local church. They have families, financial obligations, health concerns deadlines for research, and probably a plethora of faculty meetings we don’t even know about. Plus, they are simply an integral part of the Body of Christ, for which He died. Their spiritual life must remain vital in order to impact ours.

Do you pray for your professors? When you sit down with classmates and are tempted to criticize a certain prof for a certain viewpoint or project he assigned, stop yourself and consider how this is my brother in Christ pours of his life for you sake. Let’s stop and pray for him.

Today or this week, be mindful of your professors, and pray for them. Also, pause for a moment and consider how you can practically bless them. Little things like:

  • a handwritten note
  • a word of encouragement
  • join with other students to do something creative for them
  • give an update from a prayer request you shared with them earlier
  • ask to buy them lunch
  • if they ask you to call them by their first name, then do it
  • did I mention hand-written notes?
  • send a card on their birthday or over the holidays
  • ask them about their kids
  • ask to see pictures of their grand-kids
  • pay attention in class (close your laptop if you don’t need it!) — this is an ultimate sign of respect (and of course it goes without saying you are paying for it, and if roles were reversed you probably would appreciate the students’ full engagement)
  • don’t start to pick up your items until the class period is complete and your are dismissed
  • staple your assignments
  • follow the syllabus guidelines for your papers (okay, these two are more of a blessing to us TA’s)

Any other ways we can bless our professors? After all, they are people too.

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Written by jeff-patterson
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