Most folks who are in school are getting ready to start their fall classes, if they haven’t done so already. Here are so helpful tips as you put the books in the backpack and head back to school or college.
First, show up. I am one week into teaching an eight-week course and some of the students just showed up yesterday for the first time. Are you kidding me? I have eight weeks to make you a better writer and now you are giving me seven weeks? Buddy, you have already missed three discussion board posting deadlines and two first-assignment deadlines. You are behind before you even start.
My face-to-face classes start next week and I can already bet you that about 1/5 of the class won’t show up the first day. Too bad- I start lecturing at the first class, I get to know you a little, and I give you a homework assignment that is due at the second class. I do not post that assignment online. You have to be there to hear about it. Welcome to college! I will not give you my notes and I will not repeat the class lecture just so you can hear it. I will have already given it by the time you deign to attend.
Next, keep up with the work. If you have a problem ask sooner, rather than later. I check my email on a daily basis, and am available immediately before and after class. I am very happy to answer questions if there is anything unclear or uncertain. However, do not email me four times in a single day because you didn’t get an answer yet. I check my email once a day, about mid-afternoon, and your adding to my in-box will not get you the answer any faster. Again, keep up with the work and DO NOT wait until the last minute to ask a question you should have asked weeks ago.
If you get an answer you don’t like, do not report your instructor to his or her boss. That will not win you any Brownie points and it puts you on a list that you don’t want your teacher to put you on. Need I say more?
If your instructor is obviously trying hard to help you, do not go over his or her head right after you talk to the instructor. It is not a good thing to be on a first-name basis with the Dean of the college, unless you are a personal friend. This is another Brownie points moment, if you are such a complainer that the Dean knows your name.
Finally, communicate. Be involved with the class. Ask questions, but don’t ask questions on every slide of your professor’s Power Point. Your job is not to slow down the professor’s presentation, but to be actively involved. There are limits….a few semesters back, I had a student who asked a question about every point on every slide. It was irritating to say the least and she was a pariah to her classmates, who just wanted to get through the lecture so we could do some of the activities I had planned.
Have a great term!