The Chronicle forums got me going in this direction. I didn’t even know there were WikiHows out there. Very interesting. I am going to have to look for WikiHows on things I need to know next. But these are two posts that my students might find and that they could see as useful.
2. Be honest as to what the e-mail will be about in the subject line. The professor has doubtless received many similar e-mails. A subject like “paper extension” or “inquiry on paper extension” are usually best.
3. Begin the e-mail with “Dear” and the professor’s official title. Using their full title shows respect.
4. Start with an apology for sending the e-mail. For some reason you can’t get the paper to them on its due date. Accept responsibility for this fact.
I have gotten in trouble for saying this, but it is true. If you are putting in a lot of effort, teachers are more willing to put in effort.
The more responsible you have shown yourself to be in class (coming to class on time, staying awake, completing assignments) the more likely the teacher is to give you an extension when you really need it.
This is such a good point: “Penalties assessed for late papers are not about a punitive issue, they are about an equity issue.” That is worth putting on my syllabus and I am impressed to find it in the Wikihow.
How to Befriend a Professor: Not that I would call it that. As students, students can’t really be our friends. But perhaps, “How to Act like your Professor is a Human Being” was already taken? 😉
2. Ask good questions. The central strategy of this wikiHow is to change your professor’s image of you from “None” to “Valuable”. Asking intelligent questions, properly related to the topic your professor is covering, not only helps him/her to see what more may be usefully added to the lecture, but also elevates you from a nameless face to a Person — a person who is helping the professor with his/her job.
3. Attend office hours. This is your chance to talk to the professor one-on-one. Not only will you be able to ask questions that show that you’ve done all the reading and gave the subject thought, but you can let the professor know you–your interests, why you’re taking the class, your specific interests in the subject. Also, other students can ask questions, and you can ask follow up questions that may lead to a real discussion.
5. If the professor makes announcements during class about lectures on campus or other events, go to those events whenever possible. Often, these announcements are made because these lectures will enrich your experience of the class and add to your knowledge of the topic. By attending those lectures, you’ll show your professor that you are willing to put in extra effort.
Demonstrating extraordinary skill or interest in the class can get the attention of some instructors and be great ice breakers. Little things that show you care about the class can mean a great deal (to the point it may make an instructor weep with joy or at least impart a measure of glee) to a professor whose job is often thankless.
There are some good points. I could discuss them with my freshman students. I like it.