Friday, November 9, 2007

C'mon, Professor. Throw me a bone here...

I've noticed something strange about my relationships with my professors lately. It's a really interesting phenomenon that I think stems both from the fact that I look up to my professors intellectually and from the fact that my classes are so small that I get to be fairly personal with all of them.

The thing I've noticed is that I really care about what they think. When we finish studying a religion or learning about a new philosopher, I really want to know how they feel about it and how it affects them. I know that I should be making up my own mind on these issues, but I really want to know how my role models feel about this stuff, you know?

Today, for example, we finished talking about George Berkeley in my Modern Philosophy course and I found myself wanting to ask Dr. Panza, "So do you think he's right? How does he affect you and your view of the world?" I don't know whether it's appropriate of me to ask questions like that to people who are only being paid to teach me the material, but it's difficult sometimes.

I think that because of the small classes and with how often I see the professors both in and out of class, I feel like we're involved in each other's lives as more than just a teacher and student relationship. To steal from Confucius, I feel like it's more of an elder friend and younger friend relationship. I feel like my professors play a "mentor" role more often than a "professor" role.

I just wish every now and then they'd throw me a bone and tell me whether they think a theory is earth shattering or if it's all wet. It'd help me figure out what I believe a bit more to know how much weight philosophies carry with the people I look up to. Perhaps I'll just put a professor on the spot one of these days and see how they react.


lindsey said...


*whisper* You're showing too much!


Danielle said...

maybe they don't want to tell you their opinion on the philosophy because they want you to formulate your own. i remember dr. ess was always very good at masking his beliefs for some of the ethics we studied.

yet, at the same time, being someone who likes to ripple the waters, i say you should do it! i mean, the worst they can do is say they'd prefer not to tell you.

cpanza said...

Did you ever put me on the spot? If so, I can't remember what I said. :)