So often adult learners are hesitant to go to their professor for help for fear that they might appear uninformed. After all, it has been so many years since being in school that the adult learner is unsure that they made the right decision to even return to school. As a professor working with adult learners, here are a few things I wish students knew.
- We really want to help students. Yes we have classroom standards and we expect you to do the work to get the grades. But we long to help students who have questions or are struggling with the course material.
- The assigned reading in the text books is really important. So many students think they can go through a course without even opening the textbook and some even brag they didn’t bother to get the textbook for the class. Only so much material can be covered in class. The textbook is a rich source of information about the subject or focus of the course, we really want you to take the time to read the material.
- Please read instructions for the assignments before doing them wrong. So often adult learners fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent and skim through the instructions for assignments, ultimately doing them wrong. They waste more time having to redo them. If only they had taken time to read the instructions before launching into the assignment and doing it wrong. If there are questions about the assignment after reading the instructions, then ask questions.
- APA is a pain. Yes, even professors have to go back and review APA guidelines because every little detail is so important. Learning to write scholarly papers is part of the learning process that adult learners need to embrace.
- We know you have many outside responsibilities and we do care. When an adult learner commits to their education, professors expect students to make their education a priority. There is a time commitment to learning and school should not fit in around the edges as time permits. School needs to be front and center on the priority list. The course assignments are designed to maximize your learning and all have purpose. The texts have been selected with care and should enhance your learning.
So, adult learners, please know that professors want to help you and are willing to answer your questions but you also need to make a commitment to your education to maximize your success in school.