It is imperative to know the audience of a classroom since the generation gap between the current instructors and the students' increases over time. As an instructor, I ensure I am better able to connect to students in the classroom to ensure I build a rapport to deliver the information effectively. A favorable learning environment combines both the student and the general life experience. This paper aims to highlight my etiquette experiences with students, including the challenges and successes I encountered during that time.
During my first experience as a tutor, I observed the privilege that some of the tutors enjoyed unknowingly and the tension that can emerge when a student attempts to be an alpha student. I agree with professor Worthen’s sentiments that “Today, on the other side of the civil rights revolution, formal titles and etiquette can be tools to protect disempowered minorities and ensure that the modern University belongs to all of us. Students seem more inclined to use casual forms of address with young professors, non-white and female, some of whom have responded by becoming vocal defenders of old-fashioned propriety."
The first time encountered etiquette issues with students is when a student was unhappy about her grade and referred to me as the instructor asshole. I was a new instructor during that time, and students were used to the instructor, I instructed the student to immediately leave the office before I draft a character and fitness letter to the bar. A student is expected to be mature and respect the learning environment, other students and the instructor. Tutors have the mandate to manage their classes in a way that is respectful of the learning process. There is a notion among students that when they pay tuition fees, it is a guarantee that they will receive a credit; however, I view this not to be true. The instructors have the responsibility of creating a favorable learning environment while students pay the cost of their education in the college/university. Nonetheless, the process to learn primarily depends on the discipline and enthusiasm of the student to enquire, listen and do the required task assigned. I previously had students say use hash words combining it with the title instructor. Therefore, this shows that titles do not automatically confer respect from the students.
Moreover, I also had an experience with a student who, in the middle of a session, said they didn't need to narrate the case. Such cases happen even if students use titles to refer to instructors. Therefore, having students refer you by the titles is not the sole way of earning respect from students; it is just an initial step. There is one aspect that, as an instructor, I learned when handling students. There are several instances of students from rich family backgrounds not respecting their teachers. Various previous works and articles are addressing how students should respect teachers; however, very few address how teachers should respect students. For instance, some colleagues’ instructors had students with PhDs; another class had an instructor from a different department.
While many instructors and professors demand they be called by their title, conversely, it matters how students also approach students since respect is earned. Tutors must use proper email etiquette so that students can emulate. I interacted with a male student who highlighted that some instructors insist that students refer them as professors. At the same time, they ridicule students; their offices are always closed and have minimal interaction with students. When I was in college, a professor referred to all of the class as idiots and intimidated to fail us. The lecturer was fired while I still refer to him as a professor and not by his first name. I got to experience such as a student; hence, I saw that respect is earned, and both students and instructors must learn to be respectful. However, there are always those students at the back of the class, less concerned about taking notes and stare.
Although I am not sure if I am a cool instructor, but I have learned that having an open interest in the challenges, accomplishments, and struggles while practicing compassion has a significant impact on earning respect. I had a concern about mails from students; the majority of the emails began with 'Hi' without addressing the surname. Moreover, some of the email addresses were unprofessional, childish, and offensive, such as [email protected], with the emails not displaying the full names of the sender. On other occasions, some of the emails contained unethical messages, while professionalism is founded on etiquette. A significant and frustrating problem worsens when students use private emails. My best-case scenario of unprofessionalism in the email conversation I encountered was a sequence of from my student was summer 2019 on a Saturday. The initial email at 9 p.m. inquired if a particular assignment was due on Tuesday morning. The subsequent mail was 1 hour later asking why I had not responded to the first email. Both of the emails had "hey" as the subject and sent from a private mail; therefore, they were directed to my spam folder. On Sunday morning, I nearly deleted the messages because of the subject, but after reading, I could identify the sender.
I also received an email from a student asking, "did I miss something important in yesterdays’s class?" I am always tempted to reply, "Absolutely not; as usual, nothing happened." I found such questions insulting since a student implies that the content of that session can be shortened in a mail or that some sessions are important while others are not. Moreover, it was not my responsibility as an instructor to give several iterations of the session. When a student missed a class for a justifiable reason, it was their responsibility to establish what was covered during the session.
Instructors receive dozens of emails every day from different classes, faculties and campuses. Therefore, it was more frustrating when a student fails to identify themselves appropriately. Sometimes, remembering and correctly placing students with common names was challenging in many big classes because mastering the name of each student is difficult. Students often focused on very specific topics, not providing the details or the context of their emails, assuming that I will recall the details of the scenario. The majority of the students often have the information they are seeking while composing emails. My biggest frustration during my first days was that students did not check the information already available to them before they sent emails. A student asks through mail the venue or date of a particular exam or whether they can be exempted from taking the paper a few hours before the exam begins. It was hard to politely make the student understand the course material, syllabus, or the school website where all available sources of the information. It was not appropriate to email an instructor about the information that was available from other easily accessible sources.
I advised students on their communication skills with their instructors. It was vital to ensure all sources are exhausted before writing an email to the instructor, which can change the impression of a tutor. Consequently, some students sent emails that resembled text messages intended for their college friends. A best-case scenario was;
I’m a senior, Michy said I need your authorization. Register me immediately. I only need your class to graduate.
I discouraged texting language, it is unprofessional, and it communicated to me that the student did not intend to spend their time to compose a proper email. However, they expect me to construct a well-written message in response. I noted high levels of carelessness exhibited by some students while composing emails, which was annoying and too casual. I issued some guidelines to students on how they can appropriately write emails professionally. I was impressed by some of the student's responses. There was a general improvement in the grammar, punctuation, and full spelling of words in the email communication. I especially insisted on proofreading the email before sending it.
Veteran tutors often complain of the respective levels with the current generation, which is not arguable. An instructor is not an automatic authority in the classroom; however, teachers must devise a way to ensure they get respect from students though it should be reciprocal. The current generation of students requires a different approach to earn respect and putting into practice etiquette codes.
Worthen, M. (2019). Opinion | U Can’t Talk to Ur Professor Like This - The New ... Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/opinion/sunday/u-cant-talk-to-ur-professor-like-this.html
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Creating a Positive Learning Environment: Instructor Etiquette Experiences - Essay Sample. (2023, Aug 10). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/creating-a-positive-learning-environment-instructor-etiquette-experiences-essay-sample
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