I often wonder what the relationship should be like between Seminary professors and their students. There are certainly different kinds of leadership, and I believe that leadership, personality, and teaching styles all have to do with the kind of relationship a professor would have with his or her students.

There are some professors who are close to being seen as drill-sergeants. What they say goes and there is no bending of the rules. What has been forcefully agreed upon in the syllabus is a contract, unless of course they (the professor) choose to change the rules of that contract.

There are other professors who don’t take attendance and are very buddy-buddy with their students. An assignment turned in sometime during the term is not a late assignment. Tests and quizzes are rarely used, and when they are, they are hardly graded. Students might like this professor, but secretly they are disappointed because they are not learning anything.

There are also professors who have gained respect of their students but haven’t forced the respect like a drill sergeant. They are respected for what they have accomplished and for the type of relationships they cultivate with their students. They know when to be buddies and they know when to enforce the rules.

I can think of various professors in my past who have fit into one of these three categories. I learned from each of them in different ways. Now that I’m on the other side of the classroom (as the professor), I have to think of which type of professor I want to be.

Which kind (or others) of professor did you learn the most from?

(Photo by: Jaredchapman on flickr)