Thursday, September 08, 2016

Those Panicked Emails

One of my colleagues stopped by my office this morning, and mentioned her irritation that a student had sent her a rather panicked email about what the assignment for today actually is.

And I got one or two emails between teaching yesterday and waking this morning asking for clarifications.

We faculty types think we're being utterly clear, of course, so it's faintly irritating when someone doesn't understand.

But from the other direction, these emails reveal a couple things:  first, and most important: the student wants to do well.

second, they aren't yet afraid to ask

and third, someone has scared them already.  Either they've gotten in trouble for messing up an assignment at some point, or someone has made them feel bad for misunderstanding an assignment, or something.

My goal for this semester, modest though it is, is to answer these questions and emails with those three things in mind.

And the bonus is: I've already had a student come see me (by appointment) to check her draft of a journal assignment due Friday.  So she's already read the poem, done some thinking and writing, and asked for feedback.  I have to applaud THAT initiative!

(For the record, the colleague's description of the assignment she'd given did sound confusing to me, too.)


  1. If only they would ask the @#432ing question on blackboard like they know they're supposed to do. Or start the assignment prior to office hours which are intentionally not set the day before the homework is due.

  2. Yup. Getting those too, and reminding myself of exactly the same things.

    But it takes constant (self) reminding.

  3. "it's faintly irritating when someone doesn't understand" - as in the software developer world, plagued by arrogance.