After a teacher in Denver assigned her third grade class a writing assignment to finish the prompt “I wish my teacher knew…” the letters of the heartbreaking responses went viral on Facebook and Twitter. “In honor of this teacher’s attempt to better connect with our students, we took our own poll of what Stony Brook students wish their professors knew.” PHOTO CREDIT: KYLE SCHWARTZ

A third-grade teacher in Denver recently gave her students a writing assignment—to finish the prompt “I wish my teacher knew…” Some of the answers were truly heartbreaking. In honor of this teacher’s attempt to better connect with our students, we took our own poll of what Stony Brook students wish their professors knew. Listen up professors, it is time for you to learn.

One of the most common responses I received from students is they all wished their professors could understand their workload. We are all taking multiple classes along with jobs, family obligations and extracurricular activities. We do not have time to read 25 chapters in one weekend when every other class is assigning the same workload. A similar but separate comment was on how the schedule of athletes is not conducive to the amounts of work teachers give. Duly noted, student athletes, but it is not just you.

Another response that I received often enough to warrant attention is the students who wished their professors knew that their recent performance in school is because they are suffering from depression. Too many students here understand this pain and I thank the students who spoke up about this. There are some professors that truly care about their students. I have also had a number of students wishing their professors knew how much their help in a time of need was appreciated. However, more professors need to be aware of the students still struggling, still not receiving that help so we do not have any more students wishing their professors could understand their depression.

Two also very common and, in my opinion, unnecessary comments were the students who wished their professors spoke English, and knew that they wanted to perform certain physical acts with them that would be more appropriate for The Sexwolf column rather than this article. To these students, save these comments for YikYak.


Some other interesting and notable responses: I wish my professors knew…

  • I make jokes in class when I don’t understand something so I don’t look stupid.
  • Ph.D. is not spelled G.O.D.
  • If the average for a test is 50%, the majority of kids only understood half of the information that will be needed in more difficult classes.
  • How to teach slower.
  • We are adults and shouldn’t be treated like children.
  • How little effort I put into my A- papers.
  • Putting a problem into Excel doesn’t teach anyone anything.
  • I memorized an entire book to try and get an A on the final.
  • When they say you can’t do an entire project in one night, they’re completely wrong.
  • How hard I study.
  • I still have a crush on them two years after graduating.
  • How much I appreciated the help when I needed someone to talk to.
  • That they’re brilliant and I love their intelligence.

And I would like to add my two cents. I wish my professors knew that I am in awe of how much they understand and I appreciate all the knowledge that they have given me. And maybe a little bit of the “physical act” stuff mentioned before.

Take notes, professors. This is what your students want you to know.


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