Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just a little advice, dear Professor... (by anon)

Dear Professor who teaches ________,

I find it interesting that you would choose a profession that is intended to help students become successful in their particular area of study. Why do I think it is interesting? Perhaps it is the fact that when students are having trouble with the course and come to you for help and you reply with a rude e-mail that has accomplished nothing. 

I have some advice for you, Mr. _______.  When a student e-mails you asking for a little direction they ARE NOT judging they way you teach or your knowledge of the subject.  I am aware that you attended college and perhaps worked in the industry for some time. So, maybe next time you don’t have to reply so hostile.  Instead, maybe you could reply with exactly what they need. That is, students sometimes need a little push in the right direction. Simply put, how can I be successful in your class? Here, I can even help you…

“I see that you have had trouble on the past two exams, here is how I would approach the next chapters…[insert advice here]”


“This might be a little difficult to guide you over e-mail, how about we set up a time to meet during my office hours.”

I understand how writing that can be very difficult for someone who has as big of an ego as you do, but just a suggestion—OH and actually, I have had professors in the past who have done this, silly right? And they are younger and have much less “experience” as you do.  Maybe you can take some notes on how REAL professors teach…I believe there are quite a few of them on campus and it would be right outside your office door. Like my parents always say, the learning never stops! Pick up a pad of paper and a pen and jot down some notes as to how successful professors, who don’t need huge curves for their students to pass, teach material.


Hopefully I graduate!

P.S. Also, I forgot to mention it may be smart to end your e-mails with something a little more inspirational than, “To be honest, in the time left, you have little chance of raising your grade. In fact, given the material, you may have to work hard to keep it from falling.”


  1. Stop crying and just go to see your professor during office hourse hours.

    1. What an obtuse, ignorant response. Why don't you re-read the submission before you write a stupid reply that completely misses the point of the argument.

  2. 12:38, based on your response, it is no wonder that you are having problems in your classes.

    Why do you need to send an email to your prof in the first place? If you are attending classes on a regular basis and not one of the many Whitewater students who just show up for the exams and vanish like the invisible man, just make an appointment before or after class.

    Is this so difficult?

  3. Its funny that you would assume that the person that wrote that response is the person that wrote the original post. I, for one, cannot believe that a grown man teaching a high level course would ever respond to an email that way. He was better off just not responding at all. I have been to every class and put countless hours of work in, so I'd say there is no reason for such a hostile response.

  4. Professors are supposed to be resources. They're in the position they are to help students learn and succeed, offering guidance wherever needed, whatever the case. This professor clearly doesn't have that intention. Any student that comes forward with questions should receive the help he or she needs. There's no reason to berate them for asking for assistance.

    If I were that student, I'd take that email straight to the dean.

  5. Hm... this is a rather passive-aggressive blog post. With that said, it seems that some professors around here (given the previous posts on the same topic and such) just don't know how to put themselves on the level of the students. Instead, they hold unreasonable expectations and unfortunately, don't understand how to really help students when in need. Too often I have come across professors who just don't get it - they see themselves as the Almighty Professor and students are like, plebeians or something. I just don't get why some professors have such a hard time realizing that in order to teach effectively, professors have to step down from their throne and put themselves on the students' level. Maybe this is why some younger professors seem to be more able to reach the students, making themselves highly accessible and comfortable to communicate with. Professors don't realize sometimes how their attitudes and perspective in general can negatively impact the student and alter students' behaviors in a way that doesn't help them reach the learning goal. Professors who are intimidating, condescending, and short in communication make it really really hard for students to speak up and tell the professor whatever problems they are having with the class...