Getting to know your college professors is a good idea. Like it or not, they are going to play a significant role in your life over the next few years. Do your best to be studious, respectful, thoughrful, and respectful whenever you have contact with any of your instructors. Having this kind of reputation can really come in handy when you find yourself in any kind of trouble or emergency, whether academic or social, on campus.
First, read your professor’s bio. Many profs include a brief description of their lives and research interests on their home page at the university. If you don’t find it there, you may in the course syllabus or get the exposure on the first day of class. Such a profile often, but not always, include a nice head shot of the prof. This photo can help you recognize your prof the first time you see him or her.
Second, meet your professor before the course even begins. Find his or her office, knock quietly on the door, and ask if this would be a good time to talk. Explain that you will be taking his or her course and want a clear understanding of what to expect. Ask if there is any background reading you could be doing beforehand to prepare. What will the assignments and coursework be like? Do they have any tips? Professors like to see students eager to learn what they have to teach, what they are passionate about. Successful students make their own careers look good! Therefore, they will likely appreciate the chance to get off on the right foot with you and steer you in the right direction with them.
Third, read any articles or books your professor has written, especially the pieces he or she seems to be most proud of. Other works could include video or radio documentaries and interviews by or with the professor, songs, plays, projects, and more. This will help predict what subjects you are likely to be constantly hearing about in class. These subjects may indeed end up being predominant themes in the course. If you are a senior or graduate student planning to do a thesis, you may find a professor with a similar interest to your own is able to give you invaluable guidance as you research.
Fourth, meet your professor after class. This is a better time to ask questions especially particular to your difficulties or explain your homework situation. If this isn’t a good time, find out when office hours and come prepared. While your prof may not want to hear your whole life histroy, he or she may be quite interested in your background. Where are you from, what is your major, why are you taking this course, etc. are all questions to expect. Casual discussions of your residence and leisure pursuits are usually safe subjects, too.
Fifth, consider joining societies your professor is active in. For example, a Celtic studies professor is quite likely to be heavily involved in the campus Celtic Society. You can also attend lectures they are giving to the entire campus community or community at large. Not only will you get a chance to enjoy and learn from their company outside class, you may also get a chance to catch an extra tip.