By: Kaye Burnet | News Editor
As advanced as technology has become in the last decade, it is highly unlikely that your professor is a robot.
Yet many professors will tell you that few students treat them like real people. As economics professor Pavel Yakovlev pointed out, “We are people, we are fallible, we make mistakes, we get tired. We aren’t these ‘inhumane robots’ that students seem to think sometimes.”
As the new semester begins, it is time for students to make the effort to treat their professors with the same level of respect and understanding that they would want to receive.
This isn’t high school. “The dog ate my homework” wasn’t convincing then, and it certainly isn’t an acceptable excuse now. College is the first step into the professional world for most students, and it is time for students to embrace that responsibility.
Georgiana Craciun teaches marketing in the business school to almost 100 students each semester. She said students who want to make the most of their college experience need to treat it like a job.
“[Professors] try to treat it professionally, and I would hope students do that too,” Craciun said.
In other words, pajamas are great for slumber parties, but not so great for your interpersonal communications class — even it it’s at 9 a.m. Dressing nicely for your classes shows your professors that you care about being there.
Treat your professor the way you will treat your boss someday. This means asking them about their weekend, engaging in discussion and being courteous. Building a relationship with your boss will make your job much more pleasant; building a relationship with your professors will make your class time more meaningful and productive. And it can’t hurt your grades.
According to Yakovlev, one of the most frustrating things students do is fail to pay attention in class.
“It can be disruptive when they are doing something else in the class,” Yakovlev said. “Writing a paper for another class or texting intensely.”
It’s also important to be professional with digital communication. Craciun said a well-written email can make a huge difference to a professor, especially if the student is asking for help. According to Craciun, students should remember to include their full name and the class they are taking in the body of the email, if not the subject line.
Craciun said she “sees both extremes:” some students send detailed emails that start with “Hello!” and end with “Thank you!” while others barely get their point across.
“I think some of the little things are lost with texting,” Craciun said. “But I think [being courteous] gains a lot of points with professors.”
Of course, it’s easy to be nice to a professor when you like them. But what about the professors who just hate you? We have all been guilty of gossiping in groups about the professors that we know just hate us and want us to fail. That bad grade wasn’t your fault! Your professor just doesn’t like you! Right?
Well it turns out, except in extreme cases, most professors don’t hate any of their students.
“I think both parties take things too personally,” Craciun said.
When your professor asks you to be quiet or gives you an undesirably low grade on an assignment, they are just doing their jobs. Very few professors take their sadistic pleasure out via their students’ screw ups.
“When students do poorly, I feel like I’m part of that failure, whether that’s correct or not,” Yakovlev.
In the end, life is better for everyone when we recognize the humanity of our fellow man, and that includes our professors. Even the robot professors who hate us all and just want us to fail.