Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dear Student

Dear Student,

I care a lot about your education. I may even care more than most of your other professors; I am young, and still idealistic. Yet, my propensity to care can only go so far. I am a busy person, and don't have all the time in the world to give to you personally.

I want you to understand the material in my class. I spend a lot of time preparing for my classes, and I am quite willing to answer questions in class (provided you've actually read the material before attending class). I am also quite willing to answer specific questions that you email to me.

However, I will not answer emails that boil down to "I don't get it." If I get this type of email from you, I will tell you to reread the article and take thorough notes (not just highlight ad nauseum).

If you do not understand an article after reading it, and have gone back over the article to try to increases your comprehension and still don't understand it, here is what you must do for me. Email me with a specific question about a particular point. If your problem is that you don't comprehend the general ideas of the reading, then email me with a synopsis of what you think the reading is saying, and then ask me whether you're on the right track or not.

You see, emailing me a synopsis of your interpretation indicates to me that at least you have done the reading and are trying to understand it. This information goes far in my book.

I just can't stomach the "I don't get it," primarily because the message I get is that you don't want to have to do the heavy lifting of understanding Berger, or Mead, or Simmel. We discussed impression management in class. Please seriously consider the impressions you're projecting before you hit the "send" button.

Sincerely,
Your Frustrated Instructor

1 comment:

monsoon said...

"email me with a synopsis of what you think the reading is saying, and then ask me whether you're on the right track or not"... great idea!!

I know I've had my share of stupid emails, but never in the realm of not understanding. Just moments of frantic stupidity (which is just as bad I suppose ;-))

It was nice to read your rant! Nice to see the other side of the student-professor relationship (strained as it may be at times).

I tend to haunt the office hallways and always wander if I am annoying as hell!!!!! :-)