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Professors are funny things. They are directing one of the most important tasks in our land, educating the leaders of our future. They give the type of intensified and specified bases of knowledge that have been pursued the world over by the most powerful for millennia. For $10,000 U.S. a semester you can have that type of access at a major American research institution.

Part of that education is learning from a professor or two. The way they’ll smile after saying something they find particularly eloquent. Or how they chuckle when they’ve bested a classroom with a powerful question; meanwhile their students are debating whether they should stab themselves with a pen or not.

It has become a rule of mine. I don’t trust or admire professors. David Horowitz was derided for his academic purging, but what university student can really say they haven’t seen any indoctrination by over-zealous scholars. Opinion fills the gap of fact. It is worrying that more haven’t realized it.

Studying abroad offers the opportunity to meet professors with different accents and addresses, but academia is the one true global village this world has. Here in my tiny university in Minato-ku, there are professors from around the world, but the competition of scholarly work is not foreign here.

It is nothing new to say that there are professors and there are teachers. There are academics working for book deals and notoriety from magazines and journals whose circulation is made of PhDs. Then there are teachers; professors that will learn your name, tell you why you’re research paper is crap, but then email you months after you’re done with her class when she hears you’re on an NBC reality show.

You will find some genuine enough professors. I have a handful here in Tokyo, but I feel I find they are the exception.

It is difficult, I don’t ignore it. Professors are expected to create knowledge and disseminate it. I wouldn’t criticize nearly as much if I didn’t know that there are teachers at the university level. There are those that publish and poll, but come to the classroom and do more than listen to themselves talk.

That exists, but I haven’t found much of it after taking college-courses for three years on three different continents. Perhaps it has to do with the impersonality of America’s 28th largest university. Maybe it is just because there aren’t enough passionate educators. Maybe there aren’t enough passionate anythings.

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