What if you plan to email your professor?

Every time a semester is about to start or has just started, my email box is inundated with “URGENT” pleas from students. Many of the things they are writing about are in fact not urgent at all. Rather, most often the information they seek could be easily found at the campus website.  Another common “urgent” type of message relates to the fact they would like to add my class to their schedule AND would like to me to give them special consideration for umpteen different (almost always non-urgent) reasons. So, to those of you out there starting a new semester, before you email your Professors, please consider the following (rather cranky) suggestions:

1.       For goodness sake, spell  her/his name right! And, on that note, would editing for spelling/grammar kill you?

2.       Please do not take the liberty of referring to the professor by first name, nickname, or merely with ‘hey’ UNLESS you already know said Prof and such familiarity is warranted. Respect may be going out of style, but the lack of it will likely irk many (myself included).

3.       Do not request special consideration.  For example, do not ask to be put on add/crash lists due to “desperation.”  Like everyone else, show up the first day and prove you really are interested/dedicated. (And please try to remember that every student a professor adds translates into more grading to the tune of several more hours per student added  – especially in writing-intensive courses.)

4.       Do not write complaining about when the class is scheduled. Professors rarely control class times and often may be as unhappy with an assigned class time as you. We are not scheduling gods but mere cogs in the machine who must bow down to Dean’s and Provost’s and their ideas about optimum schedules.

5.       Do not act as if you are the only student that matters and that the Professor needs to bend over backwards to accommodate your work schedule, the fact you have children, or the fact you are hungry all the time and will need to bring bento boxes to class to munch on. (True story: in my early days of teaching,  I had a student who laid out a sushi spread on his desk on various occasions.)

6.       Do not include directives like “reply ASAP” or “please respond immediately” or “URGENT!!!!” when no such subject descriptions are warranted. Um, who do you think you are? And do you have ANY idea just how many emails most professors get each day?

7.       Do not ask for information that you can find yourself! Guess what, you can find out the textbook requirements ONLINE! You can look up professor office hours ONLINE! Often, you can access the syllabus ONLINE!

8.       Remember that such correspondence shapes your professor’s impression of you. If you come off as arrogant, demanding, self-centered, selfish, lazy, etc, many professors just might remember this about you. We are, after all, mere mortals. As much as we may try to overlook what an asshole you were in your email, we may very well remember right up to when we are formulating your final grade. (Now, I am not trying to suggest that professors are not good at impartial grading; I think most are –  but if you are one point away from a B- and you were an email jerk, some (consciously or not) may keep you at the C+ level rather than giving the one point bump…)

Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 10:13 pm  Comments (23)  
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What if we had White Hetero Male Studies?

Poor Attorney Roy Den Hollander. His rights have been infringed and his penis-privileged life has been blighted not only by Women’s Studies, but also by Ladies Night. The pitiable guy was supposedly duped by a female who married him to gain citizenship. Now, in seeming retribution, Hollander has declared a jihad against feminism.

Will any of you kind readers help him and donate to his fund for Men’s Rights? A resounding no? Well, thank the goddess. Yes, and this goddess worship of you crazy feminists out there reveals what Hollander claims in his lawsuit against Columbia University – that feminism is a religion that violates the 1st, 5th, and 14th Amendments. Reminds me of how a student of mine lovingly referred to my Advanced Feminist Theory class as “feminist church.” Yeah, if only.

If feminism was a religion we would be doing far better in this country that does not separate church and state. If feminism was branded as a religion we could get away with all sorts of things…

We could claim equal wage day a religious holiday! We could get all sorts of tax breaks!

We could refuse to do any number of things that offend our feminist sensibilities and then sue for religious protection under the law (like the male police officer who took civil action after he was fired for refusing an assignment at a casino because it went against his religious beliefs, we could refuse assignments such as doing the dishes or ironing – “sorry, no wrinkle free clothes, it’s against my religion.”)

In some states, such as California and Michigan, we could use publicly funded vouchers to send our kids to feminist schools.

We could come up with “charitable choice” or “compassionate conservatism” or “faith-based initiative” programs as a way to compete for funding with secular non-profit organizations.

Heck, we could jump on the jihad-is-so-damn-cool bandwagon and declare feminist jihad against the patriarchy.

And how about creating abstain-from-abstinence programs to preach in schools across the nation with both the blessing and the funding of the government?

Of course, if feminism were branded a religion, we would still have a pretty tough sell on our hands. But, with enough “Jesus was a feminist” bumper stickers and a number of cool re-tooled commandments, we just might be able to do it. Heck, we could even keep some of the old ones. “Thou shalt not kill” seems pretty in keeping with feminism. However, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” would have to be changed to “Thou can covet anyone or anything if the coveting is done under the conditions of mutual consent by all involved parties”…

Anyhow, with that digression aside, allow me to return to poor (Hem)RoyDenHollander, a royal pain in the feminist ass. He claims that University of Columbia’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender is discriminatory and unconstitutional because there is no equivalent “men’s studies” program. Huh? Has HemRoyD not heard of men and masculinities courses? (For more on this line of argument, see the post about RoyD here at Appetite for Equal Rights.)

Perhaps (gasp) he has never actually taken a Women’s Studies course. No, that couldn’t be. He couldn’t possibly declare jihad against an entire school of thought that he knows nothing about. That would make him kind of like GWBush. Oh wait, squinty eyes, gray hair, crazy and incoherent claims, anti-woman… Hmmm, guess they are a bit alike.

His laswsuit claims that within Women’s Studies “Females…are credited with inherent goodness who were oppressed and colonized by men.” Wow, what brand of feminism you reading there RoyD? Did you get a hold of some radical gynocritical 2nd wave stuff and take it as gospel representing the entire movement?

In case any of you hetero females out there feel like RoyD would make a real catch, he shares that “I am looking for … superficial temporary escapades with pretty young ladies.” RoyD continues that “It’s harder than it was when I was younger. I only go after girls who are in their athletic prime.” By girls, I assume he means the under 18 set. Surely he wouldn’t refer to grown women as “girls” as this would be enacting the very type of gender bashing he claims to deride – and I don’t see him ever referring to men as “boys.” Thus, apparently rules regarding adulthood and who is able to give informed consent are not amongst the laws concerning Mr. RoyD. Who cares how old she is as long as she is in her “athletic prime,” hey RoyD?

RoyD is quoted as claiming the following in a Times Online article:

“The long-range goal of my law suits is that I am, in my own small way, trying to give all those feminists equality – not the equality of all the best in life, but the equality of the worst in life.

“Make them register for the draft, make them go to war and die, make them work in the worst occupations,” he said.

“They do not want equality. They want preferential treatment. It’s just the same old pedestal. they say, ‘I am a female. I want to be the CEO of a company.’ I want to be on a pedestal.”

Pardon me while I pick away at these inane claims.

  1. We don’t have a draft and thus neither women or men have to register for it
  2. Uh, females do go to war and die – they have for quite some time now RoyD, and they are dying in larger numbers than every before in another jihad – the one ran by your long lost twin, GWBush
  3. Worst occupations? How about sweatshop slavery? Sexual slavery? Domestic servitude? In fact, the worst jobs with the lowest pay (and often no pay) plus the most inhumane conditions are undertaken in the vast majority by females
  4. Preferential treatment? Perhaps you should look up the meaning of preferential – I think you have it confused with equal opportunity
  5. CEOs and pedestals? Well, there are a number of female CEOs (although in the vast minority), but none of them that I have heard actually sit on pedestals

As for refuting his misogynidiot claims (i.e. idiotic claims based on misogyny), perhaps Kim Gandy, president of NOW, puts it best: “They have a men’s studies department: It’s called ‘history’, ‘politics’, ‘business’. It’s the entire university. It’s all about men’s studies. It’s like asking why there isn’t a White Studies department.”

But, wait, no white studies department? Why not? How unfair!!!! Excuse me, must end this post now so I can work up a lawsuit of my own – I think I am going to call for a White Moneyed Christian Heterosexual Male Studies program. What’s that you say? The interests of that group run pretty much the whole show? Dang, is white hetero rich dude the ‘his’ referred to in the word HIStory? I never realized.

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