Emailing your professor
Most faculty are surprised at how often badly written (and occasionally impolite) emails appear in their inboxes every semester. It is obvious that students are tech savvy but not as obvious that they understand how to email. Every student should read How to Email Your Professor (without being annoying AF) by Laura Portwood-Stacer and Re: Your Recent Email to Your Professor by Paul T. Corrigan and Cameron Hunt McNabb.
The really short version:
- Use a clear subject line.
- Use a salutation and signature.
- Use standard punctuation, capitalization, spelling and grammar.
- Do your part in solving what you need to solve.
- Be aware of concerns about entitlement.
- Add a touch of humanity.
Also never, never, never use email while drunk Student emails professor while drunk, gets back amazing response
Other ways to annoy faculty
For example this list on ways to annoy your professor by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
Some surefire ways of annoying faculty members:
1. Not having read the assigned reading before class and not being able to offer an answer when called upon. No explanation needed: not being prepared is a bad move!
2. After class, going up to the professor and asking, “What do I need to know to get an A on this test (or this course)?” This really drives teachers crazy because grades are not supposed to be the sole object of your taking a course.
3. In the middle of a lecture, raising your hand and asking, “Is this going to be on the test?” Don’t do that! Professors want you to distinguish the important from the unimportant on your own.
4. While a professor is lecturing, chitchatting with a classmate, playing video games on your laptop, cell phone or iPad or even worse, getting a phone call. Nothing drives professors crazier. Turn your mouth and gadgets off.
5. Sucking up (or kissing up) to a professor, i.e, demonstrating a willingness to say or do anything in order to gain favor from him or her. Example given: assuring a teacher that you share the same political views or taste in music.
6. After doing poorly on a test (receiving a D or an F grade) pleading with the professor to change your grade to at least a B so “you can get into law school, b-school, med school or grad school, etc.” Instead, approach a professor about what you can do differently to be more successful in class for the future.
7. Making an appointment with a professor, then not showing up, and not even explaining or apologizing for missing it. This begs the question: why would you want to make a bad impression on anybody, let alone a professor?
8. Not addressing the essay topic that has been assigned, or not abiding by the suggested word count for a paper. Even more annoying is turning in sloppy papers filled with misspellings, bad punctuation, and poor grammar. Do this and forget about getting a good grade or a future recommendation.
9. Outright plagiarizing an author in a paper you write (especially if that author is your professor!). A really BAD, BAD, BAD move. You could get thrown out of college for this.
10. Coming to office hours with sunglasses on, chewing gum, and wearing a cap. One professor said, “If a student covers his/her face, they are usually trying to hide something or have something on their mind that is not good.”
Those are the top 10 annoyances, but guess what? I just heard from another professor who came up with five very different annoying behaviors.
• Asking a question not related to the lecture, just to hear yourself talk.
• Being inappropriately confrontational, i.e., saying such things as “You’re an idiot,” or “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
• Being flirtatious, overtly sexual, or blatantly seductive, whether a male or female.
• Lying about why something is being turned in late.
• Deliberately humiliating a fellow student during a class discussion.