The Worst Thing to Ask Your College Professor


Not I know what you are thinking. There are all kinds of horrible questions you could ask your college professor like eating habits, film choices and mating rituals, but frankly, many of your professors can talk to a post about grape jam (and I am including myself on this one) and we’d have no problem talking to you about any sticky questions in those areas.  But there is one universally hated questions that unites us, science or humanities, democrat or republican, Jew or Greek. This one does not matter.  We all hate it.

This one was texted to me recently by a student and I have to confess that I went a little crazy. This student said this, “Hi i missed class yesterday. is there anything important that i missed? if there is could you send me the work i need to do?” Yeah, I thought I would lose my mind. Not that there is anything wrong with the text.  I gave them all my cell number, but it is the text itself. So let’s take a look at it.

“Hi” Seems friendly, but it isn’t followed by the student’s name or what class he/she might have missed so I have no idea who this student is, what class information is needed or anything that would help me. “i missed class” as I am certain the attendance record I am required to keep will show. Now the killer “is there anything important that I missed?” Before I start frothing at the mouth and talking about whatever I do being important, in a self-important kind of way, let’s look logically at responses.

If I say “NO” at seems to me that a student would need to ask him/herself why he/she is taking the class to begin with.  Really?! I spent 90 minutes and absolutely nothing of valued occurred? Time to take a trip to the dean’s office.  His/her contact information is probably in the syllabus.

If I say “YES” the student has tagged a request for information, like I was a study partner or a BFF or a team mate. I am a professor for the class. I was in class and I presented on the topic already. That is what class was for.  I make assignments available electronically. Start there.  Next step, ask another student.  If you are smart enough to make friends in your classes, that person can probably help you. I am not going to reteach a lesson that took me 90 minutes over a text exchange while you do your finger nails.  If I could, gotta wonder what is being done in class and it’s time to see the dean again.

If you find yourself tempted to ask this question of your professor, bite down on your lip and STOP. Tell the professor in a text or email who you are and when you have class.  GIVE YOUR NAME and how and when to reach you. Include your contact information. Gather as much information from the syllabus or online site to find out if there are things you need and ask questions based on the fact that you at least looked or tried to contact someone in the class.

Don’t make this rookie mistake.  It hurts your image as a student and drives your professors out they minds.



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