Everyone has suffered at least once those awkward ten seconds where you notice your professor walking towards you in the hall. You stutter a feeble “Hi,” your hand is half raised, but eventually your eyes become extremely fascinated by the floor patterns and nothing happens. Students become silent mice when asked a question in class. If a professor brings up a funny anecdote, in return is an ungenerous feedback from a student who complains that he or she wastes time during class with silly talk. The relationship between a student and a professor is close to none. Where is the problem at? Could this be an issue only in Korea? The Sookmyung Times (SMT) interviewed three students and one professor to find out.
SMT What interaction do you have with your professor (student) outside the classroom?
HYUNAH I interact with professors in school events, such as the academic conference last September, where we students formed a group with our mentor professor to study and analyze thesis papers.
ROOSITA I send emails to ask for help with the class material. Also, we foreign
students often have lunch with our professors.
MUOYLENG If I have something to ask to the Professor I email them. I also have coffee with them every month or two months, if they are not too busy.
MELISSA I don’t really interact much with students outside of class unless they need help with something class related. I will often meet with a student in my office if they need help.
SMT How is the relationship between a student and a professor in your country?
HYUNAH The professors always welcome students to visit, and we know this fact too. However, it’s not that easy to knock on the professors’ doors, either.
ROOSITA In my country, the students are less closer to their professors. The Koreans at least come by the professors’ offices to ask questions because everyone here is very enthusiastic in learning. However, Indonesians aren’t interested as much with studying so we rarely meet our professors outside of class.
MUOYLENG In our country, we don’t have mentor professors, but if a student needs some help they can ask a professor to become their mentor. However, it rarely happens in my country.
MELISSA In the States, student teacher relationships are purely professional. We only discuss school related matters, and would not usually meet outside school for any reason.
SMT What is an ideal professor (student) for you?
HYUNAH One shows intelligence and dignity in class, but changes into a warm-hearted comfortable person that we can visit anytime for advice.
ROOSITA A perfect professor for me is someone who is fair to every student, and someone who we can visit comfortably to ask questions outside of class.
MUOYLENG A professor who teaches their knowledge to students while giving them courage. We can say that a professor is the second mother of students.
MELISSA An ideal student is someone who works hard and asks many questions.
SMT SMU provides programs that intends to bring students and professors close together (e.g Student’s Guidance Day-getting to know your professors through fun activities). What are your opinions on them?
HYUNAH I heard that one mentor professor takes all of the mentees to have meals, and I think this is a great idea. If the professors approach the students first, I think we will feel more comfortable when wanting to visit them. Also, not a lot of students know about Student’s Guidance Day, because there aren’t many events on that day. It should be changed from a day with no classes, to a day where we can get closer to our professors.
ROOSITA There are similar programs in Indonesia, but I think the ones here are better. While the main purpose of the programs in SMU are to get to know your professors, in my country, by meeting the professors to have discussion time, the final goal is to understand the class material more in depth.
MUOYLENG I think this program very helpful, especially for international students. As you know, international students don’t have many friends and have difficulties in their major. But the mentor professor program encourages them so much because they feel more comfortable. They can discuss any problems and receive the warm heart from the professor. Especially, they can improve Korean language, since there aren’t many opportunities to communicate with other Korean friends.
MELISSA Mentoring programs are a common thing that universities in the states offer. I think that these programs could be really good for building student teach relationships.