Why English Majors Need Feedback On Assignments
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An Open Letter To The Professor Who Doesn't Give Feedback

We are not here for the grades. We are here to make mistakes and learn from them.

An Open Letter To The Professor Who Doesn't Give Feedback

To a professor who doesn't give feedback,

I get it, Doc.

You have hundreds of other assignments to grade, students to teach, a family to take care of, and a life. There is nothing I sympathize with more than a packed schedule, but I'm also confused. I shouldn't have to ask for this because it's your job. A professor is there to guide, provide constructive criticism, and ensure that their students understand and are getting the most out of the course material.

As English majors, my peers and I rely on professional feedback in order to improve our craft. My rhetoric will not improve unless you show me exactly where it needs to improve. The classes I take are supposed to be preparing me for my future career, and you're hired to help me in the process.

I could learn everything taught in your class from a book or the Internet, I really could. What I am paying for is the human interaction and engagement that comes with a college education. I shouldn't have to go to your office hours after every assignment just to find out what I did wrong. You're supposed to tell me, that's your job.

High school was all about the grades, but this is college now. I'm not paying to have information enter one ear and fly out the other. I'm paying to retain and process information that is pertinent to my career. You're not doing your job by throwing readings at us and busy work that will never see the light of day. I have a stack of papers in my binder right now that you gave out and never talked about again. It's unbelievably frustrating.

Even my high school teachers, who were paid far less than you, took their time to write a couple of notes on my paper so that I might write a better one next time. I am not asking for a written response to my work. I respect your time and your dedication to the other classes you teach, on top of your other responsibilities. What I am asking for, though, is a couple of quick notes here and there, no more than a handful of seconds of your time pinpointing where exactly in my writing and analyses I need to improve or change. If I need you to emphasize your notes, I'll come to you.

It's a shame, really, because you're a decent human being. Class discussions could be far more enticing if you actually gave us the motivation to read those handouts. In case you haven't spent enough time around us, understand that college students need motivation. Sure, we don't have to be here, but the American work industry suggests otherwise. We're here by choice—most of us, anyway—but school is difficult and comes with its own host of demands.

When you give out a reading for homework that you never mention again, that's when we throw our hands in the air and scream, "What's the point?" We don't have the time to read texts for class that you're not going to use. I'd much rather read what I want to read. I can almost guarantee that if you give us a specific mission in reading and completing what you assign, you'll find yourself handing out far more participation points.

Please, I'd rather not end this semester with a bad RateMyProfessor review.


A Student Who Cares

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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