A Note of Thanksgiving

Your Students are Grateful for You

This fall, CAT started a Thank-A-Professor program, to help your students express their gratitude for you and the learning opportunities you create for them. The outpouring was astonishing: hundreds of heartfelt messages attest to your students’ appreciation and esteem.

In this season of thankfulness, we couldn’t resist sharing some of the trends. From an informal qualitative analysis of 374 student submissions, here are the top 5 behaviors and qualities that your students value most:

#5 – Students appreciate your high expectations. They are grateful when you make them think hard, and in new ways—when you push them to shift the ways they see the world. They perceive this as respect for their potential, and they are grateful for the support and the well-scaffolded learning experiences that allow them to meet the challenges.

#4 – Students appreciate authentic, grounded learning experiences, with clear real-life connections and applications. They value your professional expertise, and how you help them feel prepared for their own future careers.

#3 – Students appreciate your formative feedback. They commented surprisingly often on opportunities to go over an exam, the time you took to engage with them and identify each student’s strengths, your “sharp grammatical eye and words of encouragement,” etc. They were especially grateful for individual meetings and conferences.

#2 – Students are moved by your tangible love for your field. Your enthusiasm is contagious: many noted that your excitement made them want to learn and continue learning about your subject, and many grateful students thanked a particular faculty member for awakening their interest in a field of study, drawing them into new pathways and careers.

#1—The top honor goes to Caring. Your students lauded your empathy and concern for them. They appreciate the time you take to get to know them individually, and to learn (or at least try to learn) their names. They love feeling heard, and expressed gratitude for your willingness to listen, and to incorporate their questions and comments in discussions. They are grateful for comfortable, respectful classroom environments, where you make them feel like part of a community, rather than anonymous cogs. They thanked you repeatedly for kindness, patience, understanding, empathy, encouragement, motivation, mentorship, and support.

Thank you for all you do!