Thou Shalt Not Yell At Thy Professor, Part Two College Life

Hello everyone:

I heard from a student recently who demanded to know why she got the grade she did on an assignment. The anger in her email was obvious and she was really very belligerent. I answered her quickly and with as much kindness as possible. [She claimed to have sent me an email three days previously, but probably saved the email as a draft, rather than sending it- this happens from time to time. Still, she considered it my fault that the email had not gone through.]

I went over her document a line at a time. That took a lot of time, time which I would have preferred with someone who was much nicer to me. Did she deserve the grade she had received? Yep. The document was junk, and it was the least amount of work she could have done and still met the length requirements.

What is a better way to communicate? By asking the professor nicely how you could improve your document- the key here is the word “nicely!”  Do not attempt to embarrass the professor by posting your angry comments on the class-wide Ask the Professor area (she did that, as well). Take responsibility for your own work. Do not indicate that the instructor is a total incompetent if he or she gives you anything less than an A.

It’s your call how you make it through college. Let’s make it pleasant for all involved! How do you communicate with your instructors? Do you have any tips for others who are going through school?


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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