Top Five Ways to Suck Up to Your Professor, #2

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Do I have to ask you to turn off your cell phone? Actually, I do. Two weeks ago I gave an exam and one of my students pulled out her cell phone and started texting. !?!?! When I asked her, “What are you doing?” She said, “Texting. Don’t worry, it’s not about the test.” !?!?! When I said, “You can’t use your phone for any reason while a test is going on.” She said, “I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to.” Which brings me to #2 on the list of the Top Five Ways to Suck Up to Your Professor…

#2. BE RESPECTFUL

It starts with turning your cell phones OFF during class. I turn mine off and my life is just as important as yours. But respect includes the little things too, that when added up, make our time together much more “pleasant.”

…little things like, addressing your professor in the manner s/he prefers. Don’t know? Find out. BTW “Teach” is a personal pet peeve for most of us. By midterm I know the names of all 120+ of my students, you can extend the same courtesy and know the names of all 5+ of your professors. By midterm 🙂

…little things like, not sleeping at your desk– that’s what coffee’s for, not carrying on extensive side conversations while your professor’s speaking, not eating your big mac and fries during class

…also, embarrassing your professor in the classroom, probably not a good idea. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am always up for a challenge and a clash of ideas with a logical argument shows me you’re thinking for yourself. However, I have colleagues who prefer confrontation to occur without an audience and I know if I need to talk to a student about anything even slightlypersonal, it’s a private conversation. So my advice, if you disagree with your professor, make use of those office hours. Unless you’ve been invited by your professor to debate in the classroom. (Now I’m just asking for it aren’t I?)

Photo credit © Svlumagraphica

Top Five Ways to Suck Up to Your Professor, #3

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#3. BE OPEN

Deep fried grasshoppers, stewed chicken feet, durian fruit…

No, we’re not serving up exotic Asian foods in my classroom, but if you can’t even consider the possibility that another culture would find these foods the equivalent of a philly cheese steak, or a deep dish pizza, then already you’ve closed off a part of your mind.

To be open, is to be tolerant of diversity, free from bigotry and judgment, and eager to be exposed to new truths. When you come into the classroom, are you ready to let go of limits? Willing to push open the gates of possibility? Capable of waiting before forming an opinion?

New, foreign, different, unusual does not equal bad. New ideas may make you uncomfortable and it may take some degree of courage for you to accept or even consider them, but the alternative is mental stagnation. A closed mind is incapable of creativity. An open mind actively seeks understanding, and strives for better, more creative solutions.

If you come to my class closed, I will accept you for who you are, but I will be a little sad for you too: a limited life affects me that way.

Photo Credit © Alisher Duasbaew

Top Five Ways to Suck Up to Your Professor, #4

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#4 BE PREPARED

Yes, I realize it is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America– I give full attribution, but the motto applies just as well in the classroom as it does in life– be prepared to do your best.

Got a syllabus? Read it. Know what is expected of you. Got a textbook? Read what’s assigned, ahead of time so you’re prepared to ask questions for clarification. How do you know what you don’t know unless you know what you do? Got an assignment due? Be ready to hand it in on time. Buy a calendar, or use one of the numerous free ones on the internet. Start early so you have time to get help if you need it.

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? Be assured, I am prepared for you, every day and it’s a lot of work for me too. Keep in mind the words of James Baker, “Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” Or if you prefer, Vince Lombardi, “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Photo credit © Noel Guerrero

Tomorrow…#3 BE OPEN