Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Ok, so when someone signs an email using the closing "Cordially", what would you think? Warm, friendly, approachable? I think not. Why am I bringing this up?

I've mentioned that I am in a summer class. An un-fun summer class. Granted, classes surely don't always have to be fun, but this one really stinks. It was mandatory. I now know more than I ever wanted to know about computers. Seriously. I could even start talking programming languages with you, but I'll spare you.

One of the toughest things about this class has been the amount of time I have had to invest in it. Because it is a summer class, the coursework is accelerated. I am putting in 30+ hours/week on this class. Am I whining? Not really. Well maybe. But it has been tough on everyone here with me pretty much unavailable most of the time. It is an online class, so it is a double edged sword. Yes, I get to do the work from home, but I also have to do the work from home, with kids, in the middle of kitchen construction...(done solely by hubby) ...are you getting the idea here?

I'm the type of student who wants to do well, in fact I need to do well, as school is kind of a contributor to one's ego, with grades etc. I haven't gotten grades or performance evaluations since I stopped working 8 years ago. So in that regard, school is good. Plus, I would like to get good grades.

I do ask questions from time to time. Again, since this is an online class, you have to do everything via e-mail and the school's website. I have asked my professor a couple of legitimate questions this semester, only to be answered curtly, and to add insult to injury, she signs her correspondence "Cordially". She's rude, to be blunt. So, recently I sent her a reply email telling her (nicely), that I'm sorry to have disturbed her. (a passive aggressive move on my part) She sends me this nice email, which I have copied the ending for you here, in italics and quotes:

"Don't ever think you are disturbing me!
I checked after reading your email to find where I had mentioned that you could take submit case grader up to four times.
Continue to ask questions - it is the only way to learn.

Have a good day!
Prof. (I took her name out), Assistant Professor, Computer Science, MCCC (Montgomery Cty. Community College)"

So I'm feeling better about her. Not only wasn't I disturbing her, she had to look up her own syllabus to find out the answer I was looking for. Her grammar isn't so wonderful either.

Last week I had a question. I email her, only to get this closing: (in italics and quotes)

"Same problem as step 18.

Cordially, Prof. (again, I took out her name)"

All I can say is MIXED MESSAGES !!!

This woman is really, how should I say, hmmm...a (fill in the blank)? Observations from Deb:

1. You said to ask questions via e-mail.
2. I've only asked 3 questions the whole semester.
3. You said I wasn't disturbing you.
4. Your tone indicates otherwise.
5. You are an assistant professor at a Community College. We're not talking Harvard here.
6. Your syllabus says you will get back to us within a couple of days. You didn't reply to my email for 2 weeks.
7. I cannot wait to get my class evaluation form. Enough said.

I have a final tomorrow. Wish me luck - I'm going to need it!

Am I being unreasonable?


Kerry said...

gack - I would hate that feeling!

lisagh said...

I'm just playing Devil's advocate here, but maybe she's got a lot of students and sends form responses when it's not a direct, personal question.

Either that or she's just a nasty grouchypants!

Deb said...

Hi Lisagh,

I had considered that, but I just checked my class roster recently and there are only 10 of us in the class. Guess she is a grouchypants!

Ele said...

I would guess she's really busy and also that she doesn't want to get too *chatty* with students! Email can be misinterpreted sooo easily. TRY not to take it personally!

Traci Anne said...

I would imagine she's probably checking emails and responding to them rather quickly - but not trying to be grumpy! I tend to do that if I get an email right as I'm leaving to head somewhere - she wrote you that nice one, so I wouldn't think too much about it :)