Professor Communication

Last year, I took a challenging medieval literature course in which we read long, sometimes very confusing, texts written in Old English.  I will never forget that class for a variety of reasons:

1) It was one of the most difficult classes I have taken

2) The professor was very intimidating 

3) One student stormed out on the very first day of class.

It was the first day of Spring Quarter and we were sitting in a beautiful corner classroom of Arts and Letters hall.  Our medieval professor was giving us an overview of the course and setting expectations for the level of rigor that we should all be prepared for.  All of a sudden, in dramatic fashion, a girl in the front row starts packing up her belongings.  The professor asked her, “are you leaving?” and the girl burst out:

“Yes! I hate this class. I cannot possibly stand 11 more weeks of this or you!” She then proceeded to storm out of the room. 

We were all shocked, especially our professor.  She tried to laugh it off, but you could tell she was rattled.  This blatant disrespect was uncalled for and totally inappropriate, especially in front of the whole class.  Sure, our professor had been trying to intimidate us to drop the course all period, but I do not think she expected anything like this.

I am sharing this story to remind you the importance of proper professor communication.  This is clearly the non-example.  What this student could have (and probably should have) done was stick out the rest of the class period (it was already over halfway over!) or quietly drop the class via Campus Connect —no one needs to know why.  In this case, an email to the professor would not even be necessary, but in other cases, it might be.

One of the things most teachers and professors I know complain about is the informality of student emails.  Students jump right into what they want or need without taking the time and respect to offer a greeting, introduce themselves, and ask clear questions.  In this day and age, email etiquette is essential, so be sure to double-check your emails for the proper protocol.