University Life Café

The Bookshelf → Tips for good relationships with instructors

Instructors are people. They are an important part of your education. These are suggestions for forming a good working relationship with them.

• Form your own opinion about instructors. Students talk about their teachers and their experiences. Form your own opinion about the instructor.

• Get to know your teachers first hand. Find out their office hours. Some teachers best express their love and enthusiasm for their subject in private conversations rather than lectures.

• Submit professional work of high quality in both content and form. Prepare papers as if you were submitting them to an employer.

• Be attentive. Daydreaming, sleeping or having side conversations in class will insult your instructor. Side conversations also bother other students.

• Arrive early for class. You can visit with your instructor or classmates, review notes or spend a few minutes relaxing. Being on time demonstrates your commitment and interest.

• Participate in class discussions. Ask questions. Provide answers. Be ready to debate and discuss. Your instructor will know you are interested and prepared.

• Accept criticism. Learn from your teacher’s comments on your work. It is a teacher’s job to correct. Don’t take it personally.

• Be polite to your instructors. Most importantly, handle the four C’s—complaints, criticism, conflict, and compliments.

Avoid these negative behaviors.

• Making excuses (your instructors have heard them all). Accept responsibility for your mistakes and failures.

• Arguing angrily- especially over exams.

• Treating classes as social hours or unwanted obligations.

• Being a know-it-all student.

• Telling emotional and personal stories leading nowhere

• Demanding that your instructors give you special favors and consideration.

• Telling other students what you dislike about the instructor instead of going directly to the instructor.

• Being irritating to an instructor who irritates you.

• Asking your instructors to be personal counselors.

Much of this material was taken from Becoming a Master Student, Ellis.

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