Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Avoiding giving more than you have to give

Today is boundaries, part 3.  I've previously talked about:

Today is all about students who are actually my students, by which I mean the ones who are actually in my for-credit classes, like you know the ones that the students actually pay tuition for.  In previous years, I taught mostly freshman English and they will generally do almost anything they possibly can to avoid talking to the foreigner.  However, now that I've moved to the English department, students actually want to talk to me (all the time) and they would suck me dry if they could.  Like until I was literally a pile of bones on the floor, unable to speak or move or think.  I obviously want to avoid this.  Here are my tips:

1. You should give students some of your time and having office hours and meeting with students is actually part of the job of a "professor."  But, try to meet with students only during your set office hours, if at all possible.

2. NEVER make appointments with students in the rushed 3 or 4 minutes before or after class.  Ask them to email you with some possible times.  They usually won't because their urgent request is usually something that is due that evening or early the next morning.  This follows under the category of, "Your last minute problem and stress does not need to become my problem and stress."

3. Have strict due-date deadlines and then a severe penalty for missing it.  Mine is usually: -100%.  Harsh, yes but I plan out my grading times and feel really annoyed about stuff trickling in on student's schedules and not my own.  But, I do give students 2-3 weeks notice of due dates for each assignment so there is no possible last-minute excuse that could work.  And, if submitting stuff via email, I'll usually give students a grace period of 12 hours or so.  Like due at midnight, but I won't enforce a penalty if they submit it to me by the next day when I actually get around to grading it.

4. Grading.  Do NOT get into the habit of re-grading stuff.  I have to grade essays this semester, which can seem quite subjective.  So, when I hand them back, I make a big show of how students can re-submit their essay for grading again, but they could the same score, or higher, or LOWER.  And, I tell them that I won't overlook anything, but will go over it with my red pen looking for every single grammar, vocab and punctuation error that I kindly overlooked the first time.  Number of essays re-submitted for grading this semester:  0/400.

5. Grading: do it quickly.  Like in 2-3 days if at all possible.  Students appreciate it and you won't have it hanging over you causing stress and worried students contacting you all the time.

6. Phone number.  I have given it out in the past, but I haven't this semester.  Students can contact me via email or twitter and I promise to respond within 12 hours.  Phone numbers mean text messages, phone calls and Kakao messages which students expect an instant response to.  There is NEVER an English teaching emergency, hence the lack of need to respond to anything immediately.

7. Take a deep breath.  Your job is actually pretty chill.  So chill out.  

1 comment:

The Teacher said...

Another worthwhile read. Thanks for that.

About phone numbers: I simply can't understand why profs want to hand out their personal number to undergrads. We just aren't going to become friends, so what's the point?