A good teacher is someone ...

Un bon prof est quelqu'un ...

encourages appreciation of their subject, speaks clearly about it and considers their students' opinions

gets their points across and has intelligent points to get across in the first place.

listens and understands their students.

patient, willing to explain, energetic, who makes learning fun.

to whom the pursuit of truth is top priority.

who answers all questions in a friendly manner.

who answers questions.

Who asks questions in class

who can inspire his students to learn.
Good teachers can make a big impact on a student's life.

who can inspire students to enjoy the subject, who is inspired by the subject, and who is energetic about teaching.

who can inspire the will to learn in students, while also actually teaching them something. A good teacher can teach you much more than the subject of the class. A good teacher lets (or sometimes pushes) students discover their potential not only as students but also as people.

who cares about the students.
who loves teaching.
who still learns.

who cares for their students

who explains a concept the best and is friendly enough for students to feel comfortable and approach him/her with questions/concerns.

who is dedicated to teaching. He or she will never give up on a student who doesn't understand the subject. He or she goes above and beyond the classroom context and helps the students to find their directions and passions in life

who is energetic, truly grasps the material and can communicate effectively and efficiently to students with a variety of backgrounds, and who is accessible to students.

who is interested in his/her class, prepares lessons ahead of time, does not reuse lessons every year, answers questions and grades homework and tests promptly and well.

who is interested in the material and in the students.

who is knowledgeable, patient, and actually interested in teaching.

who is organized, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable.

who is patient with students.

who loves to help students, is prepared, and tries new things.

who uses different approaches to explain the same concept until the student understands.

who values teaching others and does his/her best effort to teach.

à l'écoute des élèves.

d'intéressant, pédagogue et de respectueux

d'interactif, de dynamique et qui aime son métier.

de dynamique
qui explique bien
qui introduit des exemples, des cas concrets dans ses cours
de passionné

de passionné et ayant une conscience professionelle

de pédagogue, motivé, entreprenant

Impliqué, qui aime ce qu'il fait, qui veut donner goût aux élèves

jovial, respectueux, intéressant

pédagogue, et qui donne l'envie à ses élèves d'apprendre.

qui aime sa matière, qui explique bien et qui donne envie d'apprendre

qui aime transmettre son savoir

qui donne le goût de sa matière à ses élèves.

qui enseigne les choses clairement, qui fait appliquer ses théories par des exercices, qui donne des exemples.

qui est attentif à ses élèves

qui est bien

qui est dynamique, qui ne donne pas des cours soporifiques, qui est à l'écoute de ses élèves et les aides en cas de problème.

qui met de la vie dans son cours, qui respecte les élèves et qui est à leur écoute, qui nous fait participer

qui réussit a intéresser ses élèves à sa matière et à leur faire intégrer le maximum d'informations.

qui sait être juste envers tout ses élèves.

qui sait se faire respecter par ses élèves


It seems that the vast majority of French and American students agree on what makes a good instructor.  Both parties mention that good teachers must be interested in teaching their subjects, enthusiastic, and interested in their students.  The Americans especially seem to emphasize the latter point - many repsonses indicate that American students expect good teachers to answer questions, and be persistent, creative and patient in their explanations.  Interestingly, the French students do not mention answering questions at all.  Is it common for questions to be asked during college courses in France?  Also, the American students mention that the best teachers inspire their classes not only to be  better students, but also better people.  One response indicates that this might include helping students find their paths and passions in life.  Is it common for students to be personally familiar with their professors in France?

Bonjour Diana,


Pour répondre à ta question, s'il est courant que nous étudiants posons des questions à nos professeurs? La réponse est mitigée.


En effet, en université, nous avons deux types de cours:


- les cours en amphithéâtre, où tous les étudiants de la promo sont réunis.

- les cours en travaux dirigés (TD), qui regroupent une vingtaine d'étudiants.


Lors des cours en amphithéâtre, poser des questions est plus difficile pour deux raisons: d'une part la timidité de certains étudiants. Ils n'osent pas poser une question devant tous les autres étudiants, de peur d'être ridicule ou tout simplement de retarder le cours. D'autre part, les professeurs privilégient les cours en TD pour que nous puissions poser nos questions et dissiper nos doutes.


Ainsi, les cours en TD, en plus petit comité, nous permette d'éclaircir nos doutes, et le professeur se porte volontaire pour répondre à toutes nos intérrogations.


Enfin, pour répondre à ta dernière question: "Is it common for students to be personally familiar with their professors in France?". Je dirais qu'encore une fois la réponse peut être nuancée. Certains professeurs se montrent proches de leurs élèves, les aide, les soutienne, restent parler avec eux, sans forcément parler de cours. Ce qui crée en effet un fort lien.

D'autres, (la majorité), gardent une relation professeur-étudiants, c'est tout.


Je sais qu'en Espagne, il est commun de voir ses professeurs à l'éxtérieur, d'ailleurs les étudiants peuvent les tutoyer, donc ils ont des relations fortes, une proximité conséquente.


J'aimerais en savoir plus sur vos relations professeur-étudiants en Amérique? Etes-vous proche? Les voyez-vous à l'extérieur de l'université? Etc...




I had a similar idea to Diana, saynig that teachers teach their students to be better people, not just better students. My take on this matter is that Americans want teachers to not just be teachers for their subject or course, but to be teachers for their life. Teachers are often very wise people who have gone through similar experiences as students have, and they can often help students discover their passion, their direction, their inner voice.

@Nadia: We have something similar to TD. Here at MIT, we call it a recitation. Lectures of the larger sizes are not suitable, as you mentioned, for asking questions. The only time it is almost acceptable to do so is if you're trying to clarify something the professor said, or trying to correct what they wrote or said (if they were wrong). Though I feel that questions aren't asked in lecture, not because people are afraid (though that tends to be the case), but simply because it disrupts the constant flow of learning and teaching that the professor has prepared for that particular day.

How close professors and students are to each other depends on the students really. Professors, I feel, do not have to be involved with their students outside of class in anyway. They certainly may make themselves available outside of class, through email, through appointments, but they are under no obligation to do so. Most student-professor relations are student-driven. It can come from simply asking for help during office hours (a time when the professor is available outside of class to answer questions or just talk), and over time the bond just happens. At other times, students may choose to work with that professor in their lab or on one of their research projects.

In general, (and this may just be me, I don't get very close to professors, or haven't yet), I feel professors and students aren't close in general. There are the few who do create and maintain closer friendships with professors, but it is not necessary.

Professors can be seen off campus. I see various TAs (teaching assistants), professors, and other faculty walking around, maybe going to a local restaurant to eat, riding bikes to and from work, maybe working out in the gym, things like that. It's not extremely commonplace, but it's also not unheard of.

"Je sais qu'en Espagne, il est commun de voir ses professeurs à l'éxtérieur, d'ailleurs les étudiants peuvent les tutoyer, donc ils ont des relations fortes, une proximité conséquente." That's really cool!


I would say that at least in university, American students get closer to professors/instructors than in elementary/middle/high school. Like Anton said, it's not necessary but the effect of living on campus means that you get to see your instructors more-- randomly, during office hours, etc.



Je remarque que  vous parler beaucoup du fait qu'un bon prof doit aussi aider l'étudiant à se découvrir en tant que personne, pas seulement en tant qu'élève, et de notre cote, nous ne faisons aucune allusion à cela, nous ne parlons que de celui qui apprend, pas de la personne en tant que tel. Etes-vous d'accord avec moi?

To add to Anton's comments. It is true that most student-professor relationships are student driven. But there are some cases in which professors can start the relationship either by sending the student an email to offer a research position or help with applications to graduate school, etc. The closest relationships, though, come from working for the professor, like in research.

Yoan, in my case, professor have been a great help. They are very approachable. For example, if you send them an email asking to meet with them to talk about a certain career path, they will happily set an appointment with you to talk. How easy is it to approach French professors? For instance, would they easily reply if you sent them an email to talk to them about a topic that is not related to a class?

Is the TD is led by the professor himself? Here, the recitations are taught by post-doctoral students, usually ones from the professor's own lab.


I agree with what's been said by the American students about relationships with professors.  While it is very common for students to get academic or career help from professors (whether it's just answering questions outside of class or offering a research position), I feel like it is much less common to have a closer personal relationship with professors.  I think it's just the nature of the student-teacher relationship--even if the professors were people we'd otherwise hang out with, because they are our professors, it somehow seems more awkward automatically.

I'm curious as to how this dynamic is in France.  Obviously there is a divide, but what really is the teacher-student bond? I personally see it as a type of "respect your elders" relationship where the teachers serve as role models for the students, and it's very difficult to be on the "same level" socially.

On Kenneth's note, I'd like to know if the respect for a teacher in France perhaps even goes beyond that of simple respect of elders since there is seems to be a great emphasis on being educated in France.

Just an anecdote. from what I know about teacher/student relations in Korea, teachers hold a great deal of power (this is before college by the way), and often parents show teachers great respect for the sake of giving a good impression and thus giving their child an advantage.

That probably wasn't really an anecdote. Apologies. :)



nos TD sont donnés par les mêmes profs que ceux qui nous font cours en amphi et en labo; à l'IUT,nous pouvons avoir plusieurs sortes de profs: ceux qyui sont des Maîtres de Conférence (je sais qu'ils font aussi de la recherche), les profs agrégés (ils ont passé uun concours) et des professionnels qui dirigent leur propre entreprise.

Pour répondre à Johanna, je pense que les profs sont moins respectés aujourd'hui dans la société française, c'est du moins ce qu'ils disent et ce que l'on voit à la TV!



oui, cela nous arrive souvent d'envoyer des mails à nos profs pour différentes raisons, c'est quelque chose de normal et ils nous donnent facilement rendez-vous pour nous aider ou répondre à nos questions; c'est drôle, parce que j'ai le sentiment que vous n'avez pas tant que cela de rapports avec vos profs, et nous pensons qu'aux USA, c'est très différent de chez nous; en fait, je me rends compte que nos profs sont peut-être plus abordables que les vôtres...

Lina, je voulais te demander si les profs venaient à vos bals de promo ?

Les relations que nous avons avec nos professeurs sont plus "proches" à partir du lycée, parfois même seulement à partir de l'université.

Je pense que en france, je tiens à préciser que je ne vise personne mais que c'est une remarque générale, certains élèves ne sont pas très matures pour leur âge, par exemple dans mon groupe de TD de l'année dernière les garçons, qui avaient donc au moins 18 ans, s'amusaient à lancer des craies d'un bout à l'autre de la salle. Cette année, en première année, les élèves (encore des garçons) montent sur les tables et chantent!!

Les professeurs ont donc plus de mal à discutter avec nous d'égal à l'égal comme ont pourrait le faire avec des élèves "matures"; mais il est vrai que certains professeurs n'ont aucun mal à discutter avec nous, à nous aider quand ils ont des élèves sérieux en face d'eux.

Je suppose que les élèves aux Etats unis sont un peu plus sérieux que ça?