Sunday, March 10, 2013

Communication with Professors ... IT'S IMPORTANT!

   I've brought this up a few times before in some of my other UT Tyler blogs, but recently I've gone through some situations that have really brought home how important it is that you communicate with your professors.

   I got the joy of going through delaying my graduation last semester, since I tried to do too many classes in order to rush my conclusion to the Undergraduate portion of my degree pursuits. I took the last level of my foreign language, a math class, three biology classes, as well as two online classes.
   Things .... didn't work out so hot.

   While I passed just about all the classes, one came up short due to my inability (and, unwillingness) to discuss the course with the Professor who set up the class. We'd never gotten to meet before since it wasn't a course that needed any face-to-face contact. I (foolishly!) decided to only talk with the Prof. via email(s), and then only when things were urgent.

   My Prof and I then wound up having some fairly serious miscommunications in regards to a grade dispute that, had I just gone in to see her, would have fix'd everything. Sadly, by the time things were necessary for me to take off for the hours the Prof had open time for me, it was too late - my grade wasn't going to get me a pass as far as the state was concerned since I got a D, however it was a point or two away from a C.

   Fortunately, my communication with my Prof also saved me, both in how things went down then, as well as this week.

   I went into see the Prof after having communicated via email. I explained everything and the prof was unable to budge on their stance with the situation. I emailed the Prof back thanking them for my time, something that I wasn't HAPPY to say... but it was the right thing to do.

   IMAGINE - You're a Professor and some student who has never really spoken to you comes in, asking for extra work (or any solution, really) and ... you have no idea who they are. They've never expressed concern for their obviously pitiful grade, and *NOW* they come asking for help? After the grade posted? After they've only ever cared about the grade when it was safe? Why in the game of cheese and crackers should the prof allow EXTRA work to be done to let THIS student fix his problem when other students accepted their grades, good or bad?

   It's hard to imagine things from the Professor's POV, however I believe (strongly) that we need to do this. Empathy isn't just something we need to want people to have for us, we need to try and have it for others, even those who we think (wrongly, most of the time), "just does _______ to be rude," etc...

    In the end, we worked out a deal to make the grade be an 'I' so I could then do extra work this semester so the grade could then be changed.

   So, this semester, we'd again experienced a problem that was making it hard for us to get in touch with each other. I went up to the Department Office to clear things up and made sure that the emails I was sending to the Prof were getting through. Turns out, they were not! We got everything settled in the end, but only because we made sure to communicate!

   Always talk with your professors, and make sure to think about things from their perspective!


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