Whether you have come through the public or private system of education, nothing in your present educational experience can prepare you for college professors. Up to this point, the main focus of all your teachers has been your education. In college, this may not be true. If you start at a community/junior college or attend a liberal arts school, the main focus will still be on you. If you attend a research-focused school you will be a second or third priority. It’s that simple. It’s nothing personal; it’s just how the game is played at research schools.
There are other differences between professors and K-12 teachers. All public school teachers have degrees in education. Many private schools require the same of their instructors. College professors are not required to have a single course in educational theory. Think of the worst public school teacher you have ever had or heard about. That person has had more education about education than the average college professor. Now, there is a mixture of great and lousy instructors both in high school and in college. So, I am not attempting to make a case against college professors. I just want you to begin to appreciate the differences.
Courses are taught by people and in many ways, courses are people. Mark Twain once said that the “difference between the right word and the almost right word was the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” What Twain says about words is also true for instructors. The right instructor can energize and electrify even the most uninteresting subject. The wrong instructor can transform a favorite subject into a cure for insomnia. I want to help you find the right instructor as often as possible.