It’s just like I always say: new year, new ways to f*ck up. But this doesn’t have to always be the case, right? Lucky for you, I am both an instructor AND a student at OSU. This dual role allows me to get an inside look into how the academic sausage is made. Trust me, it sucks. However, I am now in the position to help make sure that you don’t come off as a total tool-bag to your professor. I think most instructors will agree they’re less likely to consider giving a student who has been a thorn on their side the 0.5 point bump they need to meet the A-. You know what I mean? So, without further ado, here are a few suggestions of ways you can make a good first impression on your professor.
Outside of Class
1. Go to office hours at least once.
If we can recognize you, and know you as more than a face in the crowd, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt if you ask us to cut you some slack. If you’re that one student who sits in the corner and is constantly talking or not paying attention, we’ll think twice about it.
2. Read. The. Syllabus.
For the love of John Snow’s right nipple hair. PLEASE read the syllabus. The answers to your questions will most likely be there. Don’t just send an email willy-nilly without trying to find an answer to your question first.
3. Speaking of email… follow the general rules of email etiquette.
Use the professor’s preferred title on the syllabus (Professor, Dr., etc.). Include a helpful subject line. Read it over, I don’t know, ONE time for typos? Use a standard greeting! We’re people! Let us know what class you’re in; we have many. And sign off like a respectful, normal person.
4. Don’t send desperate emails 30 minutes before an assignment is due.
If you’re working on your assignment in the final hour and you have a huge question about the assignment or you quite simply just f*cked up your timing, don’t send us an email. (Unless it’s an emergency, obviously.) You won’t get a response in time before your assignment is marked late, so why go down in the books as irresponsible while you’re at it?
5. Don’t be that one person who only constantly bitches about a grade.
Guys, this is a class, not a bargain store. Trying to bully your professor into giving you a better grade just because you feel you deserve it is not what education is about. *Insert .gif of Stitch from pulling his bottom eyelids in frustration.*
In the classroom
6. Be attentive.
There’s a difference between participation and active listening. Active listening is kind of like when you’re on the bus and the people next to you are talking about a d*ck pic they just got on their phones. You don’t crane your neck and look at them, but you’re absorbing the conversation and all the details. In other words, you already know how to do this. Just try to apply it to school.
7. Ask questions, especially when you don’t understand.
I love it when my students feel comfortable enough in the classroom to tell me they don’t understand what I’m talking about. I will assure you that most times, when you ask a question about the topic for clarification, the rest of your peers will thank you for it because they were probably wondering the same thing.
8. Avoid talking to your neighbor.
You think you’re being slick and quiet, but quite often it’s very annoying and you’re not as quiet as you think you are.
9. If you’re going to be late, don’t disrupt the class to get to your seat.
I know sometimes the alarm doesn’t go off, or the line at 18th Ave just happened to be mad long at lunch time. Shit happens and I get it. Just come in quickly and quietly, and please don’t slam the door behind you. C’est très rude.
10. Do the work.
I have no sympathy for people who don’t do the work. If you have a damn good reason or an emergency, of course I’ll be sympathetic to your cause. That said, if you’re slacking off in the class, especially during group work, you’ll find yourself on my blacklist.