Danielle is a graduate student working towards her Ph.D and is currently teaching classes as part of her education. When she’s not busy teaching, she’s building towers and projects with her son, writing over at Mamademics and crocheting at Hook Smart. She makes the rest of us look bad.
I started teaching on the collegiate level in the Fall of 2008. While I genuinely enjoy teaching and love my students, there are things they do that make me stop and ask really, are you serious? (See what I did there lol!)
Here are my five pet peeves when it comes to teaching. Four out of five happen every single semester…le sigh.
1. Ask questions that are on the syllabus.
Seriously, this is probably my biggest pet peeve as a college instructor and most of my colleagues will agree. On the first day of class, I tell my students if they email me a question answered on the syllabus, they won’t receive an answer.
Before the semester starts, instructors spend weeks (sometimes months) working on our syllabi. We work hard to create reading/homework schedules for the semester, but we also spend hours writing out policies and making sure they are clear to everyone.
When you do not even bother to read the syllabus thoroughly before asking a question, you tell us that you do not care about the time it takes us to prepare for class at all. Not to mention it is just not smart on your part because the syllabus is your contract for the class. It is what you agree to by staying enrolled in the course and will help answer questions like what books do we need for this class? Or is there a midterm? Or where do we submit assignments? Reading is fundamental.
2. I didn’t come to class today because (insert excuse). Can you tell me what I missed? Or I can’t come to class today will I miss anything?
Yes, you did/will miss something, but no I am not going to summarize an hour and fifteen minute class period in an email. First, read the syllabus because nine times out of ten it tells you what you are missing that day.
Second, make a friend in your class who does not mind filling you in on what you missed. They may even let you photocopy their notes, so you’re prepared for the next class. Think of college as your job. If you miss a staff meeting at work, are you going to ask your boss or a coworker for the rundown? Hopefully you chose the latter because I’m sure you would not want to bring your absence to your boss’s attention.
3. I need an extension on an assignment because I had two exams in my other classes this week.
Seriously, you just told your teacher that their class is not as important as the other two. I know that’s not what you said specifically, but it’s pretty much what you implied. You made the time to study for those two exams, but not to complete the assignment for their class.
We get it! College is rough and learning to balance everything can be tough. Buy a planner! It will help you keep track of important dates, so that you give each class the attention it deserves. Schedule your time and stick to the schedule.
4. I disappeared halfway through the semester, but now I’m back and here is $500 as a gift. *wink wink*
DO NOT TRY TO BRIBE YOUR TEACHER!!! I never thought I would have to say something like this, but it happens so don’t do it. You are not only putting your academic career on the line, but you are also putting your teacher in a very awkward position. Contrary to popular opinion, we actually do care about our students and want all of you to succeed. Having to report a student for such a huge error weighs heavy on us because we know the consequences for these actions are severe. Instead of trying to buy your way out, take this as a lesson learned and put more work into the course the next time you take it.
5. I have a C in the class, but I need a B. Can we have an extra credit assignment?
Let’s think about this for a minute. You want your teacher to create more assignments that they will in turn have to grade because you did not put in the time or effort to achieve the grade you wanted. So, you are asking them to give themselves more work to do because you were a slacker. Instead of asking for extra credit, ask them what you can do on the remaining assignments to reach your goal. It shows that you are willing to work hard to earn the grade you desire.
Bonus: I needed an A in this class, but my teacher gave me a C.
Uhhh no we do not give you a grade. You earn your grade. If you want an A, do not turn in C work.
Editor’s note: Why do they ask about the extra credit? Because administrators in high school require teachers to allow students to repeatedly make up and retake tests “until they pass because that means they’ve learned the content” or do extra credit at the end of the year even if it’s mathematically impossible for them to pass!