Students Are Giving Thanks for All You Do!
Welcome to the fifth year of our Thank-A-Professor Program! Students have submitted almost 900 tributes so far this fall, and their outpouring of gratitude feels especially welcome this year. Students expressed their heartfelt appreciation for your kindness and understanding in response to their difficulties, and they found the classroom community you built to be motivating and sustaining. They also expressed gratitude for your patience with their questions, and for all the work that you do to inspire them and help them learn. One student really summed up the entries well by saying, “Thanks Prof for being patient and kind with us.”
We will be sending your individual letters over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here are some patterns we noticed in the submissions. We hope they’ll make a wonderful start to your Thanksgiving.
Helping Them Learn
Students truly appreciate the time and effort you put into helping them learn. There were hundreds of comments about your care for their intellectual growth, your effective teaching methods, the interesting projects you assigned, and your willingness to answer questions. Here is a small sampling (students’ quotes have been edited slightly to preserve anonymity):
- Thank you for all that you do. I would like to express my gratitude for always seeing the best in your students and pushing us to work hard so we can be successful. Thank you for allowing us to learn from our mistakes and never giving up on us even when it seems like there’s no hope.
- After I did poorly (failed) a nursing exam, you took the time to meet over zoom and help me identify where I went wrong. I appreciate you taking the time to meet one on one. It was a wake up call and pushed me to get an A on the following exam.
- I can tell you really care about teaching your students and always made time for all of us to make sure we completely understood every concept.
- My professor is very considerate of each and every single students’ prior knowledge and always thoroughly walks us through each step of the math problem.
- You go above and beyond to address students’ specific and sometimes vague questions without ever passing a judgment-like comment or gesture.
- Every course I have taken under your guidance has been thought-provoking, motivational, and relevant. The assignments, especially, have been project-based, which for me, have been more rewarding academically (and long-term), than any test or exam could have offered. For these reasons and many more, I thank you.
- You have been wonderful and supportive. I was very nervous about taking this course. I found that I was inspired and motivated to know more. I would go to your office hours to make sure I understood the material. I learned so much from not only the lecture, but the time you took answering my crazy questions in office hours. You also affirmed my current career path. Thank you so much for everything you do for us students! I appreciate you!
Patience and Kindness
Students mentioned your generosity and compassion over and over. They were grateful for your care and humanity, and how that support enabled them to learn:
- You are so kind, always answer our questions to the best of your ability, and deserve to be recognized.
- You have shown me and other students in the class a great level of respect and understanding throughout a very unprecedented and difficult time. You have been willing to work with students when they find themselves overwhelmed and have shown great commitment to being flexible within the structure of the class, when need be, to make it work better with the circumstances your students have been facing.
- Thank you for making sure that each student’s mindset has been well during this class. I found your email asking us questions about how we are doing to be very nice. I appreciated that you considered us humans and not just numbers in a class.
- You helped me in times of trouble and made me feel welcome no matter the circumstances. Thank you for helping me during one of the toughest parts of my life so far.
- Your compassion for understanding that students have lives of their own and that things like work, mental illness, and life itself are just as important as our studies.
- I just wanted to say I really appreciate everything you do for your students. I know it’s a lot of work to have such grace with being flexible, adjusting to fit students needs, and everything else you do, and I wanted to let you know that every single student who has ever taken a class with you deeply appreciates all the work you do to help us out.
Community and Belonging
Students appreciate the ways you attend to the classroom climate, helping them all to feel welcomed, and how you create opportunities for them to interact and form positive relationships with one another:
- I struggle with severe depression and anxiety, but in your class I feel comfortable sharing, speaking up, and engaging in discussion, and that is due to the impeccable way you manage the classroom environment.
- You have a vivacious and positive energy that creates a great energy in class that is reflected in the attitude and efforts of the students. You are a great instructor who takes time to know about us.
- You are engaging and passionate instructor. The way you constructed the course and its content makes me excited to attend and participate in class each day. You created a safe space in the class where discussions on highly sensitive social issues can be had. I have learned so much from you and my fellow classmates through these discussions that I believe have made me a better person and a better scholar.
- I enjoy your class and the environment you create. This is literally the only class where I feel a sense of community and belonging.
- You go above and beyond to make your class a welcoming atmosphere every class period. You genuinely care about how students are doing day to day and it is clear that you want to see them succeed on a personal level beyond your classroom, which makes you the best professor I have had at FSU so far.
- I love going to this class because I feel immersed in the content, welcomed by everyone, and like I’m truly learning things that are going to make me a better, more well-rounded person. Thank you so much for making FSU feel like home 🙂
Inspiration and Direction
Your passion for your subject matter is contagious! Students made many comments about how their professors are their role models, and how they hope to make you proud. Your guidance has shaped their life plans in ways you may not even know:
- Your classes are engaging and interesting, and you make me actually want to get out of bed and go to class every Tuesday/Thursday. You deserve to be acknowledged for the passion you have for your profession and your desire to spread that same spark and knowledge to each and every one of your students.
- You make history a story, and that kind of teaching is what made me infatuated with history in the first place as a kid.
- I see you as a role model of perseverance and risk-taking, especially since you were a first generation college student who got her PhD. Thank you for inspiring me and the rest of your students to strive for a challenging career full of meaningful work that benefits the world.
- I want to thank you for having the opportunity to allow us to volunteer at a local elementary school. Prior to that, I had wanted to pursue a different field. Having that one on one experience with children who are born into disadvantaged families and low socioeconomic status lit my passion and made me discover the career path I wish to pursue. I am now applying for a Masters degree for Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health because of it. So thank you. I will always remember this class for that reason.
- You helped me realise that Art History/Humanities is my true passion, and I changed my course of study/major to become a teacher like you.
- You have been such a great inspiration. Computer Science is largely a male dominated field and as a BIPOC woman I have always felt like maybe I am not smart enough because I don’t see a lot of examples of people that look like me. Having a great example of a brilliant woman has given me a lot of confidence to pursue CS as a career.
- You are by far the greatest professor I’ve ever had. Your enthusiasm for the material you teach and for your students is contagious. I look forward to your class every week and I love sitting down in the classroom and having such meaningful and educational conversations. I want to thank you for renewing my love for history and being in a classroom setting. Coming back from online school I was dreading sitting in a classroom, but having you as my first class of the day really made me look forward to being in a classroom again. Thank you for loving what you do and loving your students!