Does My Professor Hate Me?
In The Classroom
Yep, rule number one is really that easy. Go to class!
Don't just sit there. Be prepared to ask questions, offer comments, or initiate discussions. Avoid being That Guy who everyone wishes would shut up by making sure you let other people talk as well. In general, however, excessive participation is infinitely preferable to no participation. And professors love the students who actually talk in class.
If you are someone who is nervous about speaking, write up questions or comments prior to class so you don't feel on the spot.
Be On Time
Sometimes your schedule will make it impossible, but if you can arrive five to ten minutes early, do so. You can use the time to look over your notes from the previous class, prepare questions, or review your homework.
If you have a consistent time conflict, speak with your professors so they know that you aren't just being lazy about getting to their class on time.
Do Not Text / Surf Facebook / Play Angry Birds During Lecture
I know - you've been stuck in this super boring lecture about 16th century German peasant rebellions for 17 excruciating minutes already. You've earned a little Facebook time, right? Actually, no. And by the way, it's so very obvious who is not taking notes. We're at the front of the room - we can SEE you.
If you have a difficult time avoiding all your precious devices during class time, leave them in your dorm room, or at least in your bag. Take notes with a pen and paper. It's old-fashioned, but has less potential for distractions. Plus, if you're still super bored, at least doodling in the margins looks like you are intently writing down everything the professor says.
Outside Of The Classroom
Guys, this is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to get a professor to notice and like you. When I was an instructor, I always hoped students would stop by. We have to be there during office hours, whether anyone shows or not.
Even if you don't have an issue with the course work, make it a priority to meet with the professor at least one time outside of class. Do this early in the semester. It's like earning participation points, even when you aren't in class.
Don't Have Your Parent Call Your Professor
You're an adult now. Take care of it yourself. If you received a bad grade, meet with the professor to discuss what you did wrong and how you can improve on the next assignment.
Besides, it's against the law for a professor to speak to anyone but the student regarding grades and classroom performance unless you, your parents, and the professor are in the same room and you've given your explicit permission for such a conversation.
Don't Pit the T.A. Against The Professor - You'll Lose
99% of the time, professors and T.A.'s will back each other up. You reserve the right to bring a paper graded by a T.A. to your professor, but it's doubtful that he or she will raise your grade. Believe me, professors and T.A.'s spend a lot of time agreeing on how to grade papers, and usually are working from the same rubric. Your T.A. isn't out to get you, and your professor isn't going to save you.
Be Respectful In Email Correspondence
If I could show you some of the outrageous messages I've received from students....
Use a greeting. Don't use emoticons. Acknowledge the professor's help if you are asking for additional guidance or assistance with homework. Do not ask them to meet you at 10pm because you are otherwise "really busy." Don't give your professor your number and tell them to text you (yep, this happens...).
hey - i was kinda confused about that thing you mentioned in class due next week. can you meet me in an hour? text me when you get to the library and i'll come over :) number is 555-555-5555.
- Use proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling - you're talking to a person paid to evaluate your intelligence!
- "That thing" - What thing? Be specific about you need help with.
- You work around THEIR schedule, since you are asking for a favor. Ask when they are available to meet.
- Never give your phone number and expect a professor to text you. No emoticons.
- Use a greeting and farewell
Dear Professor So-And-So,
After I returned from class, I realized I still have some questions regarding the upcoming term paper. I am not sure I understand how to find sources for it. Can we please meet at your convenience to discuss how I can prepare this assignment?
No, Seriously, I Think My Professor Really Does Hate Me
If you legitimately believe you and your fellow students have been unfairly penalized, you have the right to report a complaint to the professor's department. Make sure you have sound evidence - track aggressively worded emails, graded papers, and other students willing to testify. Remember, you are questioning someone's professional integrity; make sure that the problem you are experiencing merits this kind of extreme intervention. If you aren't sure, consult another trusted professor or academic adviser first.
So, Basically, It's In My Power To Make My Professor Like Me....Except When It's Not?
Here's a video of a kitten falling asleep, to make you feel better.