Before the academic year begins, I have a few things I’d like to discuss with you. Please listen carefully. No, no, no-don’t speak. Just listen. In fact, take out your phone and record what I am about to say.
Number one: Read the course description before you register for my course. Pay close attention to the course title and number as well. The numbers are not arbitrary. 100, 200, and 300-level courses increase in difficulty. This means that my 300-level course is probably not suitable for you first semester freshman year.
Number two: If I email you before the beginning of the course, please read that email. In all likelihood, I am relaying some important content in that message. In fact, I AM relaying important content. For example, you may need to have some readings done prior to the first day of class. You are responsible for those readings whether you read the email or not. If this bothers you, drop my class.
Number three: If I email you during the course, please read that email. Again, I am either a) clarifying course related information (scheduling, assignments, readings); b) providing you with extra information to aid in your learning process; or c) asking for your feedback/input on course related issues. If you do not read the email, you are still responsible for that content. If this annoys you, drop my class.
Number four: I do not exist for your amusement. I have a life of my own. I do not sit in front of my computer waiting for you to email me at 10:52pm so I can give you feedback on your paper draft. You have friends for that. Use them.
Number five: This is MY course. I choose what time we begin, end, if we have breaks, when assignments are due, course readings, grading scale, and learning goals. Now, on the first day of class, I always negotiate these things with my students. If you are absent on the first day of class, your vote will not be counted retroactively. And if I choose to not put any of these issues up for negotiation, I have that right. If you think this is unfair, drop my class.
Number six: IT IS ON THE SYLLABUS. You will hear me repeat this at least one time per 35 minutes of class. I will repeat it now as an example of what you will hear in class: IT IS ON THE SYLLABUS. In case you are confused, the ‘it’ I am referring to is whichever piece of information you ‘swear’ is not on the syllabus. This includes but is not limited to: the title of the course, the course description, the course number, my email address, my office number, office hours, required texts, due dates for all assignments, due times for all assignments, the grading scale, policies regarding late work, policies regarding absences, policies regarding athletic travel. So, for what I wish would be the last time: IT IS ON THE SYLLABUS.
Number seven: Excuses—I don’t need them. If you have excuses, drop my class.
(you may stop recording now)
Have a wonderful year 🙂