Say what? Professors speak up about what they wish they could tell students

By Jacob King 

Staff writer 

It’s no secret that students refrain from saying certain things to professors–but what do professors withhold from students? Professors at the University of Findlay open up about what they wish they could tell students.

Christine Denecker, associate professor of English, shared some humor about what she thinks when absent students email her asking if they missed anything in class.

“When someone asks: ‘Did we do anything in class?’ no we didn’t do anything in class. We just closed shop and left,” said Denecker.

She said that this is a small pet peeve of hers and offered her solution to this repetitive question: look at the syllabus.

Discussing the infamous issue of cell phone use in class was Chris Matsos, associate professor of theatre.

“We all have cellphones too,” said Matsos. “I understand exactly why people just want to be on their phones and laptops.”

He explained that the issue professors have with students and their devices is one of undervalue. He shared that it’s typical for him to stay up the night before a class and work on the material, and he even gets excited to present it.

He is usually faced with the reality that students are more concerned with the latest post on Instagram than what he is teaching.

“I think people view their professors as part of the building,” said Matsos.

Devices are just a minimal aggravation for him. What really gets to Matsos are elaborate, detailed excuses from students.

He has received detailed excuses from constant vomiting to toilets breaking and sewage spewing everywhere.

“They like to give gory details. I do not want to read the gory details,” said Matsos. “Keep it professional.”

Amy Rogan, associate professor of communication, spoke about what she bites her tongue about in the classroom.

“The talking in class–I’ll let go for a little bit, but it does drive me crazy,” said Rogan.

Rogan says one of her biggest pet peeves, in general, is student behavior.

“You’re not special,” said Rogan. “And I say that because some students think the rules don’t apply to them. Of course, I think students are special in each individual way. I really do care about what each student is getting out of class, but the rules are rules.”

Agreeing with Rogan on this idea of specialty was Elkie Burnside, assistant professor of English.

“I think the ‘I’m special thing’ really bothers me too,” said Burnside.

With a Ph. D in English, it’s not hard for Burnside to tell when students are pulling stunts to meet the length requirements of an assignment. She shared advice targeted at all students.

“The instructor can tell you’re BS-ing them,” said Burnside. “Your instructors can’t care more than you do.”

It’s not uncommon for students to complain about a grade they received, but Burnside offered why it’s a pet peeve when students complain.

“When students ask me: ‘Why did you give me this grade?’  I didn’t give you the grade, you earned the grade,” said Burnside.

One unanimous annoyance that all professors agreed on was how some students treat the experience of college.

“Too many students treat their education like a checklist,” said Matsos. “They think if they do everything right, they will graduate and a nice job will be waiting for them.”

Most professors understand that sometimes students are only enrolled in certain courses because they fulfill graduation requirements. Burnside says that these required courses should be viewed as learning opportunities, not punishments.

“My job is to help you learn, not just give you points,” said Burnside. “Don’t look for what it’s [the course] not providing you.”

Rogan believes that a hard work ethic is the key to a quality education.

“That’s the thing I get on my soap box about,” said Rogan. “I can teach anybody to write, edit, speak or video but I can’t teach them work ethic.”

Denecker spoke about the life advice she wishes she would tell students more often.

“Be organized. Thinking ahead and having a plan [is important]. Organize yourself so you can achieve your goals,” said Denecker.


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