These are tips for students based on my real life experiences. Yes, these things happen…
1) Do not refer to your professor as Ms., Mrs. or Mr. It is best to assume they have a doctorate. Dr. or professor is the appropriate address unless they tell you otherwise. You may be taught by someone without a doctorate, but they will correct you as needed. It’s always best to just ask. Female, profs, in particular, are often called Ms. (as opposed to professor or Dr.) and we don’t appreciate it. FYI, if you address us this way in an email, know that your email may be included in a data set for research on gender bias and teaching. Just kidding with that last sentence…ahem.
2) When writing an email to your professor, use an appropriate form of address. “Dear professor” is good. “Hey Dude” …not so much.
3) Do not email your professor and desperately beg them to add their class because it fits your schedule perfectly. I guarantee you we do not want this student in our class. We lovingly refer to these students as “seat warmers.” Instead, tell us how interested you are in the course; we like that.
4) Do Not Text in class unless your prof says it’s ok. Most of us hate this. And WE CAN SEE YOU! It is not inconspicuous to be staring at your crotch.
5) READ THE SYLLABUS. And then READ IT AGAIN. Before you ask your prof a question, READ IT AGAIN. And then ask a classmate. Okay, ask your prof if there is really something not explained on the syllabus, but make sure you read the syllabus first. It’s annoying to be asked questions that with a little effort can be discovered for oneself. This ability is called “problem solving skills.”
6) Make sure you drop a class that you meant to drop. Double check. We don’t like getting emails from desperate students at the end of the semester asking to make up work for the entire semester. We will share this email with all of our colleagues and laugh about it for years to come. And it’s insulting to think you can make up a semesters worth of work in a week. This makes us angry. Very very angry.
7) Don’t email your professor a day or few days before an assignment is due and ask what it is. This should be obvious. Yes, it makes you look bad…really, really bad. You look like a huge flake…huge ‘ol cornflake. We understand procrastination now and again. It happens. But, c’mon, make a friend in the class to ask these “I flaked out, I’m terrified and panicking, help me!” questions to.
8) Excuses…we’ve heard them all. Just be honest. Unless of course, you have a very creative one that will entertain us and make us laugh. Secretly, we like that. FYI, “grandpa died” is not a good one. I swear y’all have closets full of them. And there seems to be an epidemic of grandpa deaths during midterms and finals…curious.
9) Don’t email your professor asking if you missed anything important in class. Surprisingly, this happens a lot. Just stop and think about that for a moment. How should we answer? “No, nothing. We don’t ever do anything important in class. Hey, just skip the whole semester while you’re at it.” And, again, that friend you make in class is the person who you can ask what you missed that day, so don’t skip class together.
10) DO NOT plagiarize. Really, just don’t. It’s a total pain in the butt for everyone involved. And I gotta fill out forms. I hate filing out forms!! Oh, and this should be obvious, but especially don’t plagiarize your professor’s work. This will make your professor’s head explode and it’ll be a gross mess.
Just a bit of snarky humor for the new semester 🙂 But, seriously, read these tips! Ha!