The Value of Scheduling a Student-Teacher Conference

One resource that many students fail to take advantage of is their professors’ office hours. These times outside of class are a great opportunity to meet one-on-one with a professor to get help in the course. Whether you’d just like to get clarification on the day’s lecture or need to discuss a grade on a big project, scheduling a meeting with your professor is surely a great way to look after your grade. If anything, it shows your professor that you’re involved in the course. Be sure to schedule a conference at least once or twice a semester.

So, say you’ve scheduled the conference, what next? You can’t just walk in there without preparing, otherwise you’ll have wasted everyone’s time. Instead, you should write out a list of goals you’d like to achieve during the conference as well as some questions you would like to ask your professor. Arriving on time and fully prepared for the conference will show your professor that you’ve given thought to the meeting, thus making him or her more willing to give you his or her time.

Now that you’ve got your professor’s attention, get right to business. Some light talk is fine, but remember, your professor is not your friend. Ask your questions or do the work you came to do, and then leave. Don’t overstay your welcome. Professors are usually very busy people, so if you take up too much of their time, they might be hesitant to meet with you in the future. A good rule of thumb for a conference is to stay no longer than twenty minutes. That leaves you five minutes of goal-setting, ten minutes of collaborative work on whatever project you’re doing, and five minutes to debrief and plan ahead. If you show up and stick to a schedule, your professor will appreciate your focus and commitment.

Once the conference is over, don’t forget to follow up. Send your professor an email thanking him or her for the time, and give a brief summary of the results of the conference. If you left the conference with certain objects, highlight those in the email, but briefly. Then make sure you follow through on the conference. After all, you don’t want the professor to think it was a waste of time to meet with you.

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