Home / Fall 2014 / Helicopter teachers help, hinder students

Helicopter teachers help, hinder students

Pro By: Taymara Tait

It’s Tuesday and an assignment is due a week from today. You turn to the rubric on your desk-top and it clarifies the assignment for you.

Not only does your understanding for the assignment become clearer, but you also know in what direction to take your paper. If it wasn’t for that handy dandy rubric, what would you have done?

A helicopter approach, sometimes referred to as hovering, to the way professors teach is not wrong; if anything it’s amazingly helpful.

Professors give out rubrics and syllabi simply so that students have a guide, a standard of what should be done, and the correct method to take to submit adequate work.

By giving out rubrics and syllabi, professors receive fewer questions, fewer emails and fewer phone calls.

Professors should continue to implement standards, clearly outlining what their teaching will enhance. The advantages of letting students know beforehand what to expect from a class is crucial. The busy flow of a semester and how it conflicts with students’ lives is always a perfectly balanced struggle, which is why an outline, rubric or syllabus should be required.

A standard is not seen as a way of pampering. A rubric is not a way of holding someone’s hand through an assignment or term paper and a syllabus is not a bottle to feed to a baby on how to write, articulate or craft a paper.

In order for students to succeed or to be on the right path, the helicopter way of teaching is a must.

Con By: Kristin Whitman

The college years are a time of growth and maturation for young adults; at least, they should be. Students cannot become adults on their own if they have someone hovering over them.

Some college students are always walking off to talk to their parents, who check in on them multiple times a day, trying to control their every move. These types of parents are called “helicopter parents.”

Not only are college students dominated by parents, but “helicopter professors” are also present. Hovering professors can have the same negative effects on students as parents can.

If a student must already deal with parents who will not allow them to be adults, they should not have to worry about the same thing happening when they attend class.

Having a professor who gives you rubrics, strict syllabi and emails you multiple times a week, gives the student no room to grow up or take responsibility for him or herself.

In the real world, jobs are not always easily obtained. Students don’t want the fact that they cannot be responsible for themselves to affect them in the long run.

Being a good professor means boosting students’ confidence and pushing them to their highest ability, not making it impossible for them to accomplish anything socially, mentally or physically on their own.

Learning to navigate the world is essential. Hovering professors only make the task of taking responsibility for oneself more difficult, and there is a fine line between a good professor and a helicopter professor.



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