Dealing with Problems: Dealing with Instructor or Grade Conflicts
At some point in your schooling, you’re likely to have instructors whom you love (and who enjoy you), instructors who are neutral, and instructors who seem to dislike you and give you problems. Even good students come across instructors who seem to simply dislike them and appear to treat them unfairly. How do you handle a problem with an instructor? And what about a grade that you think is unfair?
Many students just sulk in silence and feel powerless, but you can and should seek to resolve any differences you have with a particular instructor. And if you think you’ve received an unfair grade, it’s your right as a student to at least get an explanation of why you received that grade.
The following sections discuss how to effectively handle instructor and grade conflicts. Note that the best way isn’t to storm in and make accusations, but to handle the confrontation in a way that’s conducive to positive results. You’re unlikely to make much progress if you accuse the instructor of “having it in for you” or “picking on you.” Instead, approach the problem calmly and objectively.
Handling Instructor Problems
If you have a problem with a particular instructor, first consider whether your attitude or actions in class are the cause of the problem. Ask yourself and honestly answer the following questions about your behavior:
- Are you the class clown? Do you make jokes (at the instructor’s expense or the expense of classmates)?
- Do you bother your classmates? Bully them? Make fun of them? Talk to them and get them in trouble? This disrupts the class for everyone.
- Do you pay attention in class? Or are you daydreaming? Or talking? Or passing notes?
- Do you turn your homework assignments in on time? Or do you forget, make excuses, or just skip certain (or all) assignments?
- Are you a know-it-all? Many instructors don’t like a student who seems to know everything and is constantly correcting the instructor or interjecting comments about what the student knows (whether relevant or not) in a class discussion or lecture.
- Are you respectful to your instructor? Or do you make snide comments, make fun of the instructor, or otherwise seek to undermine the instructor’s role in the classroom?
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