Rate Your Professor — On the First Day


One week down, fourteen to go. I don’t want to give you the idea that I’m counting the days, but I’m always relieved at the end of the first week. No matter how many times I’ve had to introduce myself to a class, I always worry about that first impression. Did I come across too strong, too weak or just plain boring?


Here are some of my choice moments from Spring 2015’s first week.


About twenty minutes into a morning class, a student stood up and announced, “This isn’t an Italian class, is it?”  No — but that would be kind of fun. Maybe I could throw in a few Italian words just to spice up the class. Buon lavoro! (I think that means good work.)


Unfortunately, I don’t speak Italian. Neither did a second student who was hot on the heels of the first student. “I’m in the wrong class, too,” she admitted as she headed for the door. “But this class seems pretty good and I think I’ll try to add it.”  I took that as a compliment, but my glow quickly faded.


A third student packed up his books and walked out. No good-byes, just a door in my face. Ouch, I thought, and then I realized I’d never please everyone with my first day routine. In fact, I’ve decided that from now on I’m just going to be me.  And, I plan on being ‘just me’ for the next fourteen weeks – not that I’m counting.


Good luck this semester!


Comments on your first week of school are welcome here!

  • Marvin DeLeon Cifuentes

    As a student, what gets my attention from an educator is the tone of voice and authority environment. To elaborate on the term of authority is the given rights that the educator provides to the students such as either allowing students to use their cell phones, rather than snacks are allowed, and/or allowing students to ask question either by raising the hand or by raising their voice. Finally as for the tone of voice, i can simply say I judge on rather the voice has clarity that I can pay attention, or the educator speaks really softly that I can’t listen or understand what he/she lecturing.

  • Joanne Scutero

    An interesting perspective of how things look like from the other side of the desk on the first week of the semester. I’m not sure if the first week of classes is a reliable indicator of how most students are likely to view a professor by the end of the semester, but maybe I’ve just learned through experience not to rush to judgement. After one undergraduate and two graduate degrees, I don’t make up my mind about a professor for at least a few weeks.

    I suspect younger students with less experience might be more inclined to make snap judgements based on characteristics that have very little to do with the quality of the professor.

  • Jackie Leak

    It’s very hard to judge the class and professor in the first week of the semester. You can just hope that you will enjoy the class and that it’s what you were looking for. The first week is always stressful not knowing what you will expect. Every student has different expectations for different classes. Us as students don’t always like how certain professors run their class or how they teach but we learn to deal with it. We really need to be able to understand the professor and be able to listen to them for the rest of the semester. It can be difficult but everyone has a different way of teaching.

  • Stephen Honovich

    In general, I think that my first impression of a new Professor stems greatly from their ability to convey something as bland as a course syllabus in a compelling way that gets me excited about coming to class in the future. I want to feel curious about assignments and units to come. A strong orator that presents an overview of the class and is genuinely excited about the course material is always going to get my attention, and will also make me feel more comfortable about participating. I want to feel like I am being interacted with, rather than just being “taught to.”
    I noticed an earlier commenter state that she waits a few weeks before passing judgment on a Professor. I agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly. I have had dozens of Professors across several Universities, some whom I remember very distinctly even though the last class I took with them ended as long as ten years ago. I do not remember them for the initial impression that they made, but rather the experience they provided over the length of the course as a whole. The Teacher-student relationship is one that can be shaped over time as more classes are spent together and more interactions happen. In addition, many courses that I have taken spend the first session going over clerical matters (attendance, name learning, grading systems etc.) which I feel doesn’t allow for a strong first impression to be made. For me, when it comes to making an impression, it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.

  • Nancy Dashefsky

    Since I am only taking one online class, I did not have the experience of meeting professors, and students this week. However, as an online student there a different set of challenges such as navigating through the blackboard features, understanding the assignments, paying attention to deadlines and communicating with the professor and students without interacting face to face. I feel comfortable already; partly because the professor has reached out to us and set the tone that communication is welcome. I think commenting on this blog as a first assignment is an easy way to learn more about my fellow students and their experiences this week. Also, I look forward to learning about internet marketing and applying the tools needed to become proficient in this medium!

  • emily rolnick

    “Is this Italian? ” haha!!!

    Based on personal experience, in general, first impressions are usually wrong. However, sometimes it’s easy to make a judgement on professors and the class based the first week. Based on a syllabus you kind of know what to expect and how much studying you will need to do. You can tell by a professors enthusiasm how enjoyable the class will be with them as a teacher. I usually know within the first 10 minutes of class if I will like it or not. For example, one of my professors is completely from the Stone Age. He talks in a monotone voice, and he’s grumpy. Clearly, he’s not very excited to be teaching a 3 hour class, so I can assume I won’t be excited to be there. I’m dreading spending 6 hours a week for eleven weeks in that classroom, without a doubt. Another one of my professors on the first day said “Sup guys. My names Bob. Call me Bob. Not Mr. _____, and please don’t call me “professor”!, My name is Bob. We’re all cool here.” By that introduction, I can presume that we’re “all cool here”, and I’m super cool with that. He gave a few practice exercises, and went around the entire room to individually observe and help the students. I can tell he’s laidback, helpful and really enjoys his job and teaching college kids. My next professor, I’m not so sure about her just yet…. For some reason, when she speaks to the class, her voice sounds like she’s talking to little kids . It’s the most annoying thing ever. She will specifically point you out, and tell you to put your phone away. (Hello lady, “Doodling is dead, texting is in!” Clearly she missed the memo.) ALSO, she puts her hand up for quiet, and when we notice the signal, we’re supposed to put our hand up, and shut up. That is a great way to silence the class, and also the exact same method my kindergarten teacher used. She’s very very nice, and helpful, but the way she speaks to us as a group just makes me feel like I should be in an elementary school class, and I want to watch a Disney movie. (I’m a little blunt, whatever). There’s a lot of book work, but it’s easy busy work. That’s the impression I get- easy and non-challenging work- however, with a heavy work load. Can we just watch Frozen instead?

    Sheesh I need a new name on here. I’m too honest not to have a pseudonym!!

  • Francisco Barajas

    This was a very interesting blog to read because as a student, you never really wonder if the professor has any worries or cares about how he/she has come across. Especially when a professor has taught the class year after year, semester after semester. I believe that first impressions are extremely important, in particularly for someone who wants to stand out and not be just another student taking up a chair in the classroom. Everything matters; your emotions, your tone, the way your dressed, etc. If the professor isn’t excited to teach his/her class from day 1, then how can you expect the student to get excited to learn? Its always best to start things off on the right foot.

  • Niurka Viloria

    First impressions are full of emotions. In my case, most of the time those emotions are filled with doubts and insecurities: did I make a good first impression?, did I say something inappropriate?, did I offended anyone?. But I wonder, why do I feel this way?, is it that I don’t know myself well enough to easily project my personality without worrying about what other people say and think about me? or is it just a human thing that I feel this way when it comes to meeting new people?… Well, now that I’ve read these blog posted by you (somebody I think is very knowledgeable of her work and have a great personality) It kind of gives me a relief that you also feel this way. Sorry for saying this, but thank God I’m not the only one!… I have taken your class before and in my opinion you are a great teacher with excellent professional and human skills, somebody I would’ve never thought had this kind of “regular people” doubts. So, I’m grateful that you have shared your thoughts about the first impression struggles, because, after this I can say, it is just a human thing and it can only be improved by the act of being myself. Great advice!.

  • Guest

    First impressions are oddly my favorite. This first impression good or bad will affect your relationship with that person or individuals forever. Sometimes these first impressions are polar opposites to who the person really is. Side tracking away from school, my three favorite first impressions were with my current boyfriend and two best friends. All three of them had a terrible first impression. I realize now how miss conceiving these first impressions were and I find it very funny.
    The point to take away from my story is, first impressions are important but they aren’t everything. Especially when it comes to school I have had teachers who had an awesome first impression on me but were terrible teachers. On the other hand I have also experienced the complete opposite where a teacher did not impress me at first but became one of my few favorite teachers. How a person views another is all about what happens after that first impression.
    I am happy to say though all first impressions from my teachers seem to be good and legit. All of my teachers seem very enthusiastic about teaching and life. They also all seemed to be themselves, funny, energetic; one is a little weird and crazy but that’s always fun.

  • Kristine Pulaski

    First impressions are oddly my favorite. This first impression good or bad will
    affect your relationship with that person or individuals forever. Sometimes
    these first impressions are polar opposites to who the person really is. Side
    tracking away from school, my three favorite first impressions were with my
    current boyfriend and two best friends. All three of them had a terrible first
    impression. I realize now how miss conceiving these first impressions were and as
    we look back my friends and I laugh about it.

    The point to take away from my story is, first impressions are extremely important but
    they aren’t everything. How a person views another is all about what happens
    after that first impression. Especially when it comes to school I have had
    teachers who had an awesome first impression on me but did not live up to their
    original impression on me and led to great dissatisfaction because of previous anticipations.
    On the other hand I have also
    experienced the complete opposite where a teacher did not impress me at first
    but became one of my few favorite teachers.

    I am happy to say though all first impressions of my teachers seem to be good
    and legit as we finish off the second week of class. All of my teachers seem
    to be very enthusiastic about teaching and life. They also all seemed
    to be funny, and energetic. One of my teachers do come across to be a
    little crazy but she definitely makes the class fun and normal is boring
    anyways. My two favorite classes right now are my advertising class with our
    blog author Deirde Verne and my speech and communications class. Can’t wait to
    see where the semester goes. Good Luck everyone!

  • Jerry Saint Aubin

    I would say judging the professor during the first week is difficult. Especially since we take classes online. ONe way I feel with the online classes to gain impression on the profressor is the amount of times the profressor sends out messages to the students. I feel this means he/her is very interested in stirring the pot with the students and keeping things fresh. Some profressors will only check in for assignments and not provide help. With this said first impressions are great but come with their own territories depeding on the circumstance

  • Casey Davis

    First impression make a lasting impression since thats what I see at my job as a bartender. You always have to make a good impression but during the first week of classes and especially being in online classes, its very difficult. Its always hard to see what will happened on an first impression, for example your first class of the semester and your teacher is outgoing and you most likely end up loving the class and vice versa when the teacher is boring and you may end up not liking the class. After the first week is over, that boring teacher you dont like ends up being probably one of the best teachers and the outgoing teacher you liked in the beginning may be more perisitant on things you do in that class. With that being said, first impressions leave a lasting impression on people for the good or the worse but its up to that person on how they accept the teachers impression.

  • Thomas Gresia

    i believe its incredibly difficult to judge a professor based on the first . day of class. In my experience professors try three tactics on the first day of class. 1) they start off rearing to go, try and set the pace for the course, maybe be a little rough around the edges. I think this is because they want to show they’re not going to take any garbage during the semester and/or weed out some slackers who are looking for an easy course. 2) professors come across too nice, I find this most often with the younger professors trying to be the “cool” professor. This usually doesn’t work out because they’re, more often than not, not the type of instructor they project. The third and most rare option is the straight shooter. These are the professors who are the same all year long, these are the people you want, no ulterior motives, they’re just there to do their job to the fullest and don’t really care how you view them. But, first impressions people project can be motivated by so many different factors. You can’t judge someone based on the first time you meet them, its just not fair. This goes for professors and for everyone.

  • Faebee

    I believe that first impressions mean a lot and do carry some weight. This is the case when you meet a potential employer, go on a first date, meet new teammates, and of course when you meet your professor for the very first time. In some cases, their reputation may precede them. Yes, in some cases you are really meeting the representative in the beginning and not the “real person” so it is important to give it time. A lot of times when a student shows up for their class on the first day they are anticipating and wondering what type of personality will their professor have. I think the professors are thinking about what type of students signed up for their class. I have to give professors credit because as rewarding as it may be to teach, it can also be very challenging. It is great when the students want to be there and are prepared,but just imagine standing in front of the classroom everyday teaching students who really do not want to be there. I’m sure it can be hard. So when it comes to making a first impression, remember sometimes you never get another chance to make a first impression…. so make yours count. Faye

  • Gabriela Meneses

    Sometimes the first impressions are the most important when you see a teacher. However, I don’t believe that it will be fair to assume something about them at the first time. Perhaps, the teacher could it have a hard day or probably he/she doesn’t feel great. Personally, I always try to give second opportunities because you won’t be able to know your teacher in the first day. It is almost impossible to judge his/ her work and way to teach. On the other hand, if the teacher show a friendly attitute with his/her students. Probably, the studens would be grateful to have chosen the professor. Also, I think that most of the students will prefer to have a good impression of their teacher because they will have a notion about how are they.Furthermore, I think that teachers should try to give a good impression because the students will feel more comfortable and they won’t be scared about the new class. Finally, teachers and students should remember that knowing someone requires time and it will better to give second chances.

  • Jenna Tamarazzo

    I don’t feel like first impressions really count. Not everyone makes a great first impression. I don’t believe in them and I don’t think they should really determine how you view a person because maybe that person is nervous or not sure how to act or they’re quiet. No matter how many people I meet, I never judge them by when I first meet them. I have to get to know the kind of person you are before I can tell if I like you as a person or not. But there are those people that you just know if you’re going to get along with them or not. As far as rating your professor on the first day goes, I think that just doesn’t work. Of all my experiences when meeting my professors for the first time, they all tried to seem very strict with their teaching methods and grading systems which as a student that would stress me out. I would feel like if I missed one assignment they would have my head and I would fail the class but after a while for most of them, they were very easy going and understanding. But I also understand why a professor would try to act that way in the beginning because they want to be taken seriously as not as a joke. Which they should feel that way. Overall, I never judged my professors based on the first day that I meet them, once I’ve learned their teaching methods I was able to figure out if I agreed with how they taught and how it works for me. Even if you’re the coolest professor and a majority of the class enjoys your class, there’s always going to be those students who are negative and it’s something you can’t take to heart.

  • Anny Cruz

    When it comes to first week of school I believe that the expectations for professors and the students are quite high, but certainly the most difficult part is for professors because students do not get so excited to begin another semester, many are still sad to say goodbye wonderful vacations, coming back feels and seem boring, be back to class is like a punishment. and This only makes it difficult to like the new teacher. But when you do like the professor, even the most boring class starts with a promise of becoming cool, the way it is taught by the professor makes the class enjoyable, I believe that it can be the same for professor when they have students that are literally mind present and participating in class . Although the first impression counts very highly when it comes to class it is not definitive because after breaking the ice and knowing the students the professor feels more comfortable and things starts to flow, for me what makes a good professors, is when they not only love teaching what they do, they also work hard build a good and open communication with the students, the class room then becamos a nice and fun place to be until it make you stop crying for be missing vacation.

  • Nancy Valencia

    I love the first day of classes because this is where you find out what the rest of your semester will look like. There is always the professor who goes on and on about a subject and won’t let students get a word in. They ask questions and I raise my hand only to quickly put it down because I realize she/he answers her/his own questions. There are also the professors who have their favorite students and don’t really care or acknowledge the rest. I always think it is important to sit in the front row and make sure your professor knows whom you are and gets to know you as not only a student but eventually also a colleague. There are professors who don’t need to teach because they already have a job or a business. I had a professor who works for American Express and he would ask us for ideas and advice of products and services. At the end of the semester, I’d joke around and tell him I’d bill him for all the group ideas we came up with. They simply like to teach themselves and learn from their students rather than to sit in a classroom with older people just like them. I have learned to officially rate my professor on the first week rather than the first day. I get to see their teaching methods and patterns. For example, Professor Verne caught my attention the first day, even though I had not had my 20 ounce coffee mug. I kept busy with writing notes and participating, sharing ideas and or comments. I realize professors teach the same subject over and over again, however new content is always surfacing so the teaching methods and projects need tinkering from time to time, this is how professors become better in teaching their classes and managing their group activities. Bottom line, professors need to show enthusiasm and dedication so that students can reciprocate and genuinely want to be in class because although the subject might be a bit boring, the professor is not. This does not apply to advertising or marketing courses though. They are very interesting and exciting.

  • Alyssa Morano

    I’ve sat in a bunch of “First Week of School” classes and been taught by many different teachers. From a student’s perspective, I personally think a teacher’s first impression on the first day is very important. Every teacher has their own style of teaching, and the first day of class, for me at least, is really just an hour of analyzing the teacher and making sure this is a class that I can get a good grade in and can enjoy and feel comfortable enough to ask questions. However, first impressions can be deceiving. Some professors are super strict on the first day because they want to scare the slackers away. Some are super sweet so their students will like them. I’ve found that first impressions can set the tone for the rest of the semester or can be very misleading. Getting to know your professor can really help you in the end since every teacher has their own style of presenting themselves on the first day.

  • Patrick McCarthy

    Professors vary greatly, and some do act differently and teach differently. First impressions are generally very important to students when they rate their professors. On my first day at my college I had a Political Science professor who was very personable, and who turned out to be that way the entire semester. For me, this was the ideal class because it had a well-prepared and informative teacher, a great environment for discussion and a
    friendly student body. This experience lead me to mistakenly believe that a first impression of a professor would be the accurate and enduring impression. I have since learned that first impressions are not always a great way to rate a professor. For example, one professor who appeared to be very professional and organized the first day of class, turned out to be the exact opposite. I noticed numerous students walk out one by one, never
    to return to that course. I admittedly envied them. So, rating your professor on your first day (or first week) of class is probably precarious at best.

  • Benjamin Padilla

    I’ve been through plenty of “First Week of School” and having teachers try there best to not be boring. I had this Marketing class my first week of Westchester and my teacher i felt was great at setting a good impression of himself. He was funny and involved the class in what the class was going to be about. He explained everything perfect and made it easy for everyone to understand. He made the class a fun place to be. This is what every student looks for in a teacher in the first week of school. I think teachers should just be themselves and explain everything that is going to go on in the semester and not be to harsh on some rules and assignments. I believe a students greatest fear id getting homework on the first day of class when we have a whole semester ahead of us. This causes students to dislike and possible walk out of a class. I feel like this is the make or break for a teacher. If a teacher does not give homework on the first day 90% of the time the student loves them. This should be in every teachers agenda.