11 Things Your Professor Wants You to Know
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11 Things Your Professor Wants You to Know

11 Things Your Professor Wants You to Know

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Let me tell you some secrets. It seems like there are a lot of lists out there about how a college student should behave, or how they should act in class, or lengthy tomes on the expectations of professors. That information is realistic and practical, but not as useful as understanding the deep thoughts of your instructors. Therefore, you are invited into my private professor thoughts. Please take notes (or share, or like, or save, or whatever you do with your information these days).

I am not your mother.

It’s not my job to nurture you and hold your hand through your time in my course. You are responsible for reading the syllabus, turning in assignments on time, and buying the correct course materials. It’s time to put on your grown up panties/boxers/briefs and become independent.

I recognize you in public.

I might not know your full name, but I know your face. I saw you at Juan’s Taco Shack. You acted like you didn’t know I was two people behind you in line, but I know you saw me. I saw you too, because you were wearing python leggings and that shirt you were wearing only half-covered the snake skin painted on your ass. I also saw you kiss Juan. It was awkward.

I do not want to pee next to you.

Please. If you see me go in the bathroom, assume I want privacy. You do not need to know anything about my bodily functions. There is something about the thought of you hearing me fart, or listening to me pee, or listening to me pull a tampon out of my sleeve (my stupid fancy professor pants don’t have pockets) that makes me die a little inside. The next time I see your face I will be thinking about how you know I’m on my period or that I had Mexican for dinner last night. It’s just not gonna be a good meeting. If you absolutely cannot avoid being in the bathroom at the same time as me (because Juan is your boyfriend and you eat for free en su casa), choose the stall farthest from me and avoid eye contact.

I want you to call me Dr. at least until you graduate.

I earned a Ph.D., and the professional way to address me is to use my title. This request is not because I am egotistical and want you to feel like I am better than you, or that I am smarter than you, or because I think I am somehow above you. It’s because grown-ups use titles in professional settings. At the very least, do not call me ma’am or Mrs. It makes me feel old and irrelevant.

I do not want to know your personal e-mail account.

[email protected]……mail.com is not a valid professional e-mail address. If I were to open that at work I would be in fear of porn spam and being audited by the University internet police.

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I do not want to be your Facebook friend.

Nope. Don’t send me a friend request. I want to know you are a good student. I don’t want to know you are also good at beer pong, funneling, body shots, tying a cherry stem with your tongue, or any other extracurricular activities you like to engage in. I also don’t want to read status updates like, “this class is so boring, someone PM me” posted at 1:05. During my class. From 1:00 – 1:50. Right. I can see that.
I will admit that this works two ways. You don’t need to see me post memes about wine, the amount of fucks I give, or anything with a vulgar word in it. You don’t need to find out that I may or may not have enjoyed an occasional body shot or that I have a Walking Dead obsession. You REALLY don’t need to know that I posted “proctoring an exam….please kill me” at 1:05.

I can see you trying to hide your phone in your lap.

I get that you are attached to your electronic device of choice. Put it away when you are in my class. It’s just rude to be texting, or Facebooking, or PM’ing, or IM’ing, or Instagramming, or tweeting, or whatever trendy task that social media has contorted into a verb. If I have to wait until the class is over, then you do too.

I can hear your conversations even if you are in the back of the room.

Yep. I can hear you before class starts talking about lots of things. Who your date was last night, how much you hate (and occasionally love) this course, you feel like ass because you drank too much last night, your mom is in the hospital, you are stressed about your grades because you are on an academic scholarship, you miss your dog. I can’t unhear these things, so choose your conversations wisely.

When you laugh in class I think my fly is down.

Sometimes I say funny things, and during those times I know why you are laughing. If I haven’t said anything funny, or shown you a vaguely sexual photo (yes, I know the vocal folds look like a vagina), then your laughter makes me paranoid. I get very distracted and have an urge to touch my crotch to make sure I zipped up my fancy pocket-less pants. So don’t think I’m a pervert if I try to casually touch my zipper during lecture.

“Trying hard” is not good enough.

Sorry. I know you put in a lot of effort, and studied all night. You still made errors and earned a lower grade than you wanted. Come talk to me about your study habits and about content that you don’t understand. I can’t change your grade because you put in effort and really tried. Only you can change your grade by changing your approach.

I genuinely care about you.

You have the power to keep me awake at night. I spend hundreds of hours preparing my courses to make learning interesting for you. I research the latest and greatest methods of integrating technology into my classroom to keep you engaged. I work hard to pull real-life, authentic issues into our conversations so you can apply the content that I only get to talk about. I want to see you succeed. I want to get an e-mail from you in 5 years telling me about your family, and your job, and how much you love what you do. I get misty-eyed at your graduation, because I am proud of you.

I like to pretend to be a hard-ass, but it’s because I need to protect myself. I might not be your mom, but I am a mom. I cried for you when you missed a week of class because your mom lost her battle with breast cancer. I prayed for your Dad when you told me he was in a serious car accident. I lost my shit and wept ugly tears when you had a miscarriage. I get that you are a person, and the title of student is temporary. I am a person too, and when your student time is over, I want to know what other titles you earn. Keep in touch. I might even accept your friend request.

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