What Your Instructor Won’t Tell You

Academic Success

Sitting in front of the class room makes you look more like an invested student.

And it might make you one, too.  Hopefully you’ll feel more self-conscious about falling asleep right in front of the instructor.

They can see you on your cell phones and surfing the web.

Some instructors choose not to fight what seems like a losing battle and wrench their students’ attention from the Internet.  However, it’s not difficult to see a student looking down in their lap and typing, or giggling over a text.  If you ever need your instructor to write you a recommendation letter, you may find out the hard way that they always knew you weren’t paying attention.  You may also find out that you were losing points for participation.

They also know when you didn’t do the reading.

You try to look good by saying really general and vague things about the text.  Your instructor may be silent, but they know.  And if a lot of people don’t do the assigned readings, you may find yourselves with pop quizzes for the rest of the semester.

They want you to come to office hours.

It only benefits you.  It allows you to ask more specific questions about your own work, helps them to get to know you and any struggles you may be facing, and helps them remember you should you ever need a recommendation.

They aren’t in control of everything in the course.

You may hate the length of the course, the textbook, or the fact that you have to complete certain tasks or write a certain number of pages.  The instructor doesn’t necessarily decide all these things.  They’re probably following program or department policy when it comes to assignments.  If they’re at a community college, the department may even  tell them what book they’re going to use to teach.  They might secretly hate it, too, but they have to follow policy to keep their jobs.

They need your help for the class to succeed.

A seminar doesn’t work if no one does the reading or participates in discussion.  A peer review session can become meaningless if half the students do not show up or never turn in a work to be reviewed.  Instructors spend a lot of time preparing for class, trying out new activities to engage students, and attempting to find ways to encourage students to participate and speak up. But, in the end, a class only works if both sides contribute.

They want you to succeed.

Your instructor probably doesn’t enjoy giving you a low grade or deducting points for late assignments, but they have to in order to be fair and follow policy.  And they understand that you’re having a tough time, and they might offer you an extension for work or other aid.  But sometimes their hands are tied.  They might be required to report suspected academic dishonesty even if they feel sorry for you.  They might not give you an extension because, quite simply, if you don’t do the prep work for class, you won’t be able to participate that day–you can’t workshop your creative writing if you didn’t do it. They really do know a lot is going on in your life–they were once students, too.  They care even if it seems like they don’t.

Krysta 64

5 thoughts on “What Your Instructor Won’t Tell You

  1. Briana says:

    Agreed. People think they’re really clever getting away without having done any of the reading, but if you talk about the assigned reading and never say anything that couldn’t be gleaned from the back cover of the book or a quick Google search, it’s pretty obvious. People who have done the reading mention details and what they thought about those details, not just general plot/content outlines. I have surprised many a person with my astute recognition they didn’t do the reading. (Including a guy in a high school English class with me. My “secret” way of knowing? In a ten-minute presentation–on a book he picked for himself, not one assigned for the class–he didn’t say anything I didn’t know about the book, and I had never read it either.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      It’s incredibly easy to tell when someone didn’t do the the reading! I’m always surprised other students think that the instructor doesn’t know–but if I can tell, you bet the person who’s been teaching for twenty years knows!


  2. TeacherofYA says:

    Every one of these is so true, and I always sit near the front. The teachers know when you’re playing on your phone and even if they don’t say it, it looks poorly on you.
    Just don’t do what I do and stay up all night writing a paper, then sit in the front, because falling asleep in the front of the class is WAY more embarrassing! Lol.


    • Krysta says:

      I’m not going to pretend I haven’t fallen asleep in a three-person class before. (I’m guessing the professor noticed.) These things regrettably happen when you’re trying to do all the assigned work. But–sitting where you know the professor can see you better can be a motivation to at least keep your phone out of your hand, which is something more in your control than trying to stay awake after an all-nighter. I think phones are distracting for the other students and for the professor–and if the other students know you’re texting, so does your instructor! People think they’re sneaky, but they’re not. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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