I am confused as to why highly intelligent professors would want to teach undergraduate students. It sounds to me like a lifetime of toil.

Do professors find the time spent teaching undergraduates a waste of time?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Nate Eldredge, Joel Reyes Noche, Kay, Buzz, Johanna Mar 22 '17 at 6:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    No, of course not. – 101010111100 Mar 21 '17 at 23:41
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    Of course it is well known that many look down on grading. – Fermat Mar 21 '17 at 23:42
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    I think you can conclude from the content of your own post that many intelligent people believe teaching is worthwhile. People who think teaching is a waste of time probably don't know how learning works or how it helps students. The "helps students" part, at least, is obvious to academics. And probably too broad to make into a single answer. – Anonymous Physicist Mar 21 '17 at 23:50
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    Is trolling a waste of time? – Joel Reyes Noche Mar 22 '17 at 0:29
  • I edited the text a bit to make it less trollish. – Jeromy Anglim Mar 22 '17 at 1:26

I can only speak for myself with certainty, but I think most people who become professors are partly motivated by altruistic reasons. We become professors because we want to help other people, and for most of us, we think that all people in society, not only an intellectual elect, are made in the image of God(*) and ought to be helped.

Of course I often find teaching difficult, frustrating, annoying, and so on (though rarely boring), but I also get the satisfaction of doing good in the world.

(*) substitute your favorite deity or cosmic principle

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    Some weirdos like me also find it fun (aside from hopefully making the world a better place, etc.) – ff524 Mar 22 '17 at 1:51

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