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Can Professors be Friends with Students: Importance and Limits of it?

Professors and Students Relationship

Many would love to find a professor friendlier to them than their friends, but it can be hard to understand what this means. Can professors be friends with students? That depends on how you define friendship. 

Making friends with students has advantages and disadvantages, but some teachers still maintain their boundaries.

Can Professors be Friends with Students? 

Professors have a lot of power over students’ lives and mustn’t abuse that power. While it might feel good to be able to call someone you know, it’s not uncommon for people to misuse their relationships with professors.

Professors can be friends with students because it promotes learning and gives options for professional references for learners. However, friendships between lecturers and students must be healthy and guided by boundaries of mutual respect. Also, the teacher and the learner should observe high professionalism and moral standings.

Also, such lecturer-student friendships are good for both and can lead to better learning and discovery. However, these relationships are allowed but it depends on what type of professor you ask.

Professor and Student

Many professors are friendly with students and enjoy their company in class.

However, some professors have a negative reputation among their students because they are seen as too detached or uncaring.

Importance of Being Friends with your Professors

A professor is the gatekeeper of knowledge. He or she is the one who opens your mind to new ideas, guides you through the learning process, and helps you discover your potential. Being friends with your teachers can be a great way to get an edge on everyone else in college like: 

1. Knowledge Increase 

You can learn about different topics that interest you and use those as a reference when you start studying for your classes. You can also ask them questions, and they will provide the answers, making learning easier for you. 

It is better to have a good relationship with your teachers because they are the ones who are going to be giving instructions to you during lectures and tests.

2. Boosts Confidence 

Knowing that your professors are friendly and supportive will help you to feel confident when you walk into a lecture or seminar.

Professor and Student Relationship

This confidence can be very beneficial because it will allow you to ask questions without worrying that they might be met with negative reactions. 

Students must have the opportunity to build relationships with their teachers, making them feel more comfortable in class and more prepared for their assignments.

3. Draw Inspiration 

Some professors have experience in their field, and many are published authors or even speakers at conferences around the country.

This can help motivate students and give them a sense of belonging among peers who share their interests. It also gives them confidence that they aren’t alone in their quest for knowledge.

4. Offer Advice 

Professors are people who have gone through exactly what you’re going on about and can offer great advice. They know what it’s like to be in your position, so they can give advice based on their experience and what other students have said about their research or experience in the field.

You may also find that professors are willing to help career development by sharing their experiences and knowledge with others. That is why professors can have relationships with students, which is a good thing for building learning.

This can help make getting into a graduate program easier because they will have recommendations for certain schools or professors that they think would benefit you during interviews.

Limitations of Professor-Student Friendships

Professor-student friendships are a common occurrence in academic life. However, they can also be problematic, and students should be aware of the following limitations: 

1. Emotional Bond 

Professor-student friendships develop an emotional bond between the professor and his or her student, which can result in feelings of loyalty and closeness on both sides. 

Students may feel comfortable confiding in their professors, who may provide advice or criticism that is helpful to the student’s development as a scholar. 

2. Bias 

It can lead to personal bias, as they may be more likely to believe what their friend says, even if they know it is not true.

Professor and Student Relationship

In most cases, it is normal for them to favor their students over others. This is not a good thing and not professional as well.

This is the reason why professors should not date students especially when they are in the same educational institution.

This is because they know that their students have more time and resources than others and have better chances of getting good grades. 

As a result, they naturally feel more connected with them than others and build a strong bond with them.

Others are: 

  • It can cause problems when they disagree on an issue or opinion.
  • They can feel pressure to agree with each other’s ideas, which may not be how the subject should be taught or discussed.
  • They may not want to express their ideas if doing so conflicts with their friends.

 Good and Bad Professor-Student Friendship Stories

 Reports of good professor-student friendships that worked well

There is a story of a certain Associate Professor, John Kaag, at the University of Massachusetts who confesses to meeting her best student friend, who has been 18 years by then.

This professor watched his student grow, and he also became his advisor when the student was pursuing her undergraduate degree. They were so close that they used to do morning exercises like running together until it boosted their confidence.

Such moves showed that they had a genuine friendship which would later make them grow to enhance their career and development. 

Professor Kaag worked closely with this student and did research together until she grew into a better person. This is an indicator that there are also positive relationships that can mold one person into a better creature.  

Reports of Good Professor-Student Friendships that Worked Badly

In our research through New Yolk Times , we’ve found some surprising findings about how professors and students interact. We found that students have unrealistic expectations about their relationships with professors and that student-professor relationships can be quite stressful for both parties.

The problem is that many students assume that their relationship with the professor is more important than it is; they expect to receive special treatment or an invitation to social events because they are in a close relationship with him or her. Students also assume that professors want to be friends with them and will go to ensure they feel welcome at school events.

This isn’t surprising: we tend to see our professors as role models for our future careers, so we want them to like us. And if we’re lucky enough to have a friend in academia, we often take advantage of this friendship as an opportunity for socializing outside of class time.