What to do when you ask for a favor from the prof College Life / Suddenly Single

Hello everyone:

With the end of the semester looming for some of my students, and mid-terms just over for others, it seemed appropriate to make some suggestions regarding asking for favors.

One thing: do not ask for repeated favors. Do not use the circular argument that “you did it last time, so you should do this for me this time.” You may have gotten grace from the instructor the first time you asked but that is no reason to expect it every week.

Do not try to strong arm the professor just because you are bigger than he or she is. The instructor is the boss and you aren’t, even if you work full time for boatloads of money and are used to being in charge. The classroom is one place where you are not running the show. A little humility is a great thing and you need to learn to be flexible.

I keep track of how many favors you ask for in a given semester. If there is a question about possibly curving your final grade, I will look in my grade book and see how many exceptions to rules you requested.

One semester, I had an online student who had excuses for every week of class. She was sick, her kids were ill, her Internet failed, her power went out. Every week, it was something new. When she finally showed up for class on week six of an eight week course, ready to excuse her way through that week, I called her to task. She couldn’t make up any work that was later than two weeks late, and everything she turned in late would be marked down 20%. She dropped the course.

Finally, when an instructor makes an exception for you, be sure to thank him or her. I can not count the number of times I curved a final grade upward for a student who was soooo close to the next higher grade and who had shown remarkable progress during the term, only to have the student walk out of the classroom without a word. I am human; I like to be thanked. It also demonstrates that your parents taught you to be well-mannered.


Dr. Sheri



Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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