Five ways for professors and students not to drive each other crazy


The relationship between professors and students, usually, is a good one. Professors offer students a chance to learn cool stuff, and students give professors their attention and hard work (thank you!). I’ve also come to appreciate the semester-to-semester differences among classes in their backgrounds, perspectives and interests, which keeps each course new and fresh for professors, even if it’s their umpteenth go-round for that course.

 In sum, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. But it would be nice if annoying, frustrating, maddening little things didn’t occasionally (and very temporarily) get in the way. With the current semester still just getting started, I offer five agreements for professors and students so that they don’t drive each other absolutely bonkers by the time the semester ends. I can’t speak for all professors, of course, but I suspect most would find these expectations of them to be reasonable. And students, I fear some of these might come as a huge surprise to you:

5. Your professors will learn your names. In exchange, please address them the way they request to be addressed.

4. Your professors will teach interesting material. You will stay off your cellphones.

3. Your professors will dismiss you on time. You will show up on time.

2. Your professors will respond to your emails (usually within 8 to 48 hours). You will write your emails to show you know what punctuation and capitalization are. And “Hey” is not a salutation.

1. Your professors will answer your questions. Please do not ask questions that are clearly, positively, unequivocally answered in the syllabus. Please. PLEASE!

 This has been a public service announcement.