Things not to say to your prof, and other advice.

I expect all of my comp 1 students to have read Mary Pat McQueeney’s “Information for Dual Enrolled High School Students,” and Matthew Schmeer’s “A Few Notes about This Class and How I TEach it” and Dave Davis’s “10 things to avoid saying to your professor, ” –   which are all included in the extended version of the syllabus.  What they tell students describes college professor expectations. We aren’t that different.

I’d like to add a couple more things that I consider bad student practice, though I admit it may be idiosyncratic to myself.

Expressions to think seriously about before using. 

  • I’m sorry.”   This too often gets used in an ironic way, or as an excuse for late work.  Work is on time or it is not.  It is successfully done or it is not.  If it fails in either of those, it doesn’t offend or generally disappoint me.  Papers / students earn grades – I don’t give grades.  Dr Bruce Liese, of KU med, in a radio program on narcissism aired Wednesday 8-7-13 on KCUR said that the worst thing a social worker can do for a client is to care more about their progress than they do.  Similarly, one of the most popular refrains/ advice shared on a popular teachers’s website is to not care more about a student’s grade than the student does.  Doing  emotional work for others cheats them out of learning opportunities.  In theory it shouldn’t be a negative expression, but in practice as a teacher, it often comes with an inappropriate tone, or makes an inappropriate request.  Hearing “I’m sorry” from a student puts me on guard and can put a chill into a discussion.  Apologize to whoever paid for you tuition.
  • “I pay your salary.” No.  You don’t.  But try saying that to a police officer the next time you get pulled over for speeding. They love that 😉

And things not to do. 

Don’t come to my desk to discuss personal issues during group work or when you have an in class assignment.  I can’t discuss anything re: grades in front of anyone but the student – regardless of how you feel about it – federal law. Also, you have work to do – you aren’t doing it if you’re talking to me privately about a personal issue.

Don’t walk behind the desk, or behind me.  If you have a question raise your hand  – I’d rather come to you.  It’s better for everyone.  If you want privacy – go to office hours. Don’t even try to get privacy in the  classroom.   A) it’s impossible to guarantee, and b) it’s rude to the other students .