Advice for College Students…

… now is the cranky time for your professors.

About now the following things are happening behind the scene at your campus…

  • All kinds of ishy forms are being required of your professors.  We don’t like to do them.  We think they’re a waste of our time and brainpower and we hate struggling with the ridiculous questions they ask us.  Also, the formatting of the electric forms sucks and we spend a lot of time messing around with that.
  • Committee work is getting ugly.  The committees have to get things done by the end of Fall semester and the end of the calendar year.  This means more time working on stuff we never wanted to do in the first place.
  • Administrators are busy with all kinds of things as are staff folks, so they don’t have time to answer our questions.
  • Grading is piling up and we’re looking at grading finals.  At this point in the year, we see a huge set of stuff to read and evaluate and the optimism and energy of the beginning of the school year has worn off.
  • Students who haven’t been doing their work come out of the woodwork with excuse after excuse.  Some of them are real reasons and others are pure BS, but we don’t have the resources to tell one from another.
  • Our colleagues are getting cranky and picking fights.  They try to stand on the principle of academic freedom to avoid doing what they need to do in the first place.  These aren’t issues about their legitimate control of what they teach or research, but they pull that old line out like it’s going to work — when it shouldn’t.
  • The holidays are coming up, but we don’t generally get anything like a holiday bonus, so we’re trying to figure out how to afford Christmas….. and probably making a decision about whether or not to travel to see relatives.
  • Reports are due — on many levels… this makes us cranky in and of itself.
  • Political games are going on behind the scenes about funding for programs and hiring decisions for next year.  We feel like we need to fight to maintain what we fought to maintain this time last year.
  • The economy sucks — it’s likely that their spouse is unemployed or underemployed, adding to the holiday stress.
  • The schedules for next Spring, Summer and Fall are all landing on their desks and this means they have to talk to their cranky colleagues and make guesses about what to offer in the next year.
  • Due to budget concerns, administration is probably telling them they need to either increase the class size for next year OR telling them they need to get more students to enroll in their courses to avoid having them canceled.

So, be kind to them.  Smile, tell them they’re a good teacher and that you’re appreciating their class.  If you see a former professor in the hall, stop them to say hi and let them know they did a good job when you were in their class.  Generally, treat them like you’d treat a parent who is overworked, exhausted and stressed — because we are.  Now is not the time to complain, lie or cheat — really, the last two don’t go over well at any time, but they’ll be dealt with more harshly now than they would at any other time.

Generally, if you hang on a couple of weeks, we’ll see Thanksgiving break on the horizon and we’ll lighten up — until then smile, sit down, shut up and do your reading…. and for goodness sake, stay off of your phone and facebook during class!

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One Response

  1. Steck, I just want to say that I read this in class…

    You were a great professor, thanks for all you do!

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