Yes, It Will Be on the Final: Professors’ Pet Peeves

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As strange as it might seem, professors were once students, too. They know the pain of all-nighters, thesis papers and seemingly unbearable workloads. Just as we keep a checklist of infuriating instructor behaviors, professors keep one for students. CM interviewed real professors to find their biggest student pet peeves and how to avoid them.

You’re a student, not a friend

“Don’t send me an overly familiar email full of slang or text-speak. I am not your friend, I am your professor.” – Dr. Alex Huggard, Historical Theology, Marquette University

“I think many professors have nightmare stories about students not having a sense of proper decorum in class or email communication. I talk explicitly and repeatedly with students about this, but I still get emails that start with ‘Hey’ or make a demand without the student identifying themselves or even bothering to phrase it as a polite request.” – Dr. Jolyon Thomas, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

You Live in the Dorms; a Dog Didn’t Eat Your Homework

“Lying about assignment delays by using invented causes. Just explain what your problem is in plain language and ask for an extension. Whenever you have any kind of a problem, just say something to the professor. It helps both the professor and the students. Professors are not parents, but neither are they unapproachable.” – Dr. Maria Belodubrovskaya, Film Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

You Bet It Will be on the Final

“My pet peeve is when students ask me, ‘Will this be on the final?’ or ‘What do I need to do to get an A?’ I understand that my subject is not the most important for every student, and I’m not looking to wreck your GPA. However, taking a mercenary approach to your class undermines the pursuit of knowledge and communicates to the professor that you really don’t give a rat’s ass about engaging the material.We know you’re thinking it, but do us the favor of not actually speaking it aloud.” –Dr. Alex Huggard, Historical Theology, Marquette University

You Get the Grade You Deserve 

“Grade grubbing is another pet peeve. I happily entertain complaints about serious inconsistencies in my grading (I’m only human, after all), but students who are excessively pushy are a real turnoff. If a student asks how they can do better, but does not demonstrate they’ve actually taken my advice on board, I get suspicious that they came to see me just to get brownie points.” –Dr. Jolyon Thomas, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

“My pet peeve is when students come to office hours and ask for a certain grade. Typically, students don’t ask but they’ll tell me what grade they need to get, which is the same. There is nothing worse, and it never works.” –Dr. Maria Belodubrovskaya, Film Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Own your mistakes.  If you turn in a paper that you just cranked out last night, it’s more than likely not a quality paper deserving of a high grade. Don’t come in and complain how I have been unfair, unclear or say ‘I always got A’s on all my high school papers.’” -Dr. Alex Huggard, Historical Theology, Marquette University

You Didn’t Write That Paper

“My number one pet peeve is plagiarism and any kind of cheating. Don’t do it.” –Dr. Maria Belodubrovskaya, Film Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“There is no greater waste of academic time, nor is there a greater offense to academic tradition. In one recent semester, I had three instances of plagiarism in my class. The cases were blatant because in all three cases the offenders actually plagiarized me!” –Dr. Jolyon Thomas, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

I am a Senior at UW-Madison studying English, Comm Arts, and Digital Studies. I’m a media junky, especially for movies and video games. Kowabunga readers!

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