22 November 2010

List #7: Things I wish my students knew

I'm probably never going back to college. I mean, I might take a class or something someday, but full time studenthood is all in my past. Still, if I ever do find myself on the other side of the desk, there are some things I would be sure to remember and do differently than I did when I was in school. And some things I knew better than to do when I was in school. This list is for my dear, dear students.

1. Be on time to class. Every time. Don't skip. The instructor notices if you skip. And don't text during class, or sleep. We notice that, too.

2. Be prepared. Every time. Faking the reading does not work in college.

3. Do not assume the teacher doesn't like you/doesn't have time to help you.  Ask questions.

4. Do not assume the teacher likes you and has all the time in the world to help you.  Ask questions, but be polite. And gracious.

5. If you have to miss class, how you word follow-up questions is very important. "Did I miss anything?" is profoundly different from "What did I miss?"

6. If your shit is hitting the fan this semester, do not point the fan at your instructor. Manage your stuff, and if you find you can't get your work done properly while your life falls to pieces, consider withdrawing. I will work with you, but I tell you from experience it is really, really hard to get things back under control once you've spun out. It's okay to drop a class. It's okay to get a C. Or worse. If you're going to be deported if you fail my course, realize that maybe you should've thought of that before you missed 6 weeks in a row.

7. Do not write me e-mails from your hotmail account. All your friends may call you HotCupcake93, but I will not. In fact, I delete all e-mails with the name "hot" or "cupcake," as a rule.

8. I will not get your paper graded in 24 hours. If you ask me, I will put your paper on the very bottom of my grading pile, where it will languish for months.

9. As a follow up to point #6, above, if you do have a personal crisis and you have no one to talk to about it, come to me. I'm not a counsellor, but I know where their offices are, and I will help you find help if you need it. I will keep your secrets, and will fight for you if that's what you need. I teach because I love my students, even if that's not always evident.


Tom said...

#7 is also a good way of weeding out potential student workers. I declined to interview one student whose e-mail address started out:

f***theworld@ (without the ***)

If you are applying for a job (even a work study position), that's probably not the best e-mail to list.

I also tended to pass over those that had "princess" in the address. Not that I don't like royalty...they just don't seem to be the hardest working lot.

Jennifer said...

Why are people so dumb, do you think?

Carla said...

Here is some advice I've offered to my students lately:

Be on time. If you are late for a job interview, you will not get the job.

Bring what you need. You will not be allowed to return to your house/apartment/mom's basement to retrieve whatever it is you forgot.

If you don't understand something or need help, you are going to have to ask me. Write me a note, stop by my room before or after class, but do not expect me to read your mind.