Understanding the instructions while understanding talking to the prof College Life

Hello everyone:

It is, quite obviously, very important to understand an assignment’s instructions. It is also, perhaps not intuitively obvious, that you learn how to talk with a professor.

This morning as I was looking over one of my online courses, there was a person who had misunderstood the instructions for turning in a rough draft. (Please note that he was the only person in a class of 25 people who did not “get it” with regard to the instructions and this was the fourth mandatory rough draft for an assignment this term . You would have thought he would have things figured out by now.)

He blamed me. He insulted me. He castigated me in a forum the entire class could see. It was not, it goes without saying,  a good approach to solving his problem.

So how do you handle the situation if you made a mistake or simply did not understand? You should email the professor privately, and nicely ask for clarification. If you absolutely need to use a common forum, you should ask politely  for clarification.

There is a nice way to do things. Sadly, he does not know what it is. Have you got an example of how to work with a professor? I would love to hear your experiences.


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.


  1. Shervon Inglis Says: March 7, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Hello professor!
    I recently had trouble with an assignment that took me almost half the day to start off on the right foot! I had a lot of hang ups on the assignment and then I became slightly frustrated. I emailed my professor and he gave me an option to call him for better understanding. And that alone cleared the air for everything regarding that one assignment. Not only am I grateful for that option but, knowing from the first day of class that your professor has options for students to reach out is a very positive and amazing feeling!

    And also my apologies for that happening to you during the semester.

    • Shervon, thanks for sharing your experience with us! I’m glad that you had a professor who was willing to chat with you and work things out! Congrats on being able to complete the assignment without further distress. Thanks so much for commenting!
      Dr. Sheri

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