Sleep-deprived student receives scathing email from professor after dozing off during a documentary screening in class.

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Email from a Professor Says "You Should Be Better" - How to React?

Working Late and Combining Study

A college student named James recently shared his experience of receiving a highly unprofessional email from his tenured professor. The incident occurred after James fell asleep during a 50-minute documentary screening in class, which was the result of working late and not getting enough sleep the previous night.

“I was working late and definitely did not get enough sleep. I was going through my day as normal, and then I went to my 1:40 class. In this class, the professor talked for about 5 minutes, then turned off all the lights and played a 50-minute documentary on which the students were supposed to be taking notes. I was taking notes for about 20 minutes, but unfortunately, the monotone documentary mixed with my sleep deprivation got the best of me and I fell asleep for 15-20 minutes before waking back up and continuing to take notes. I felt terrible because I do not like falling asleep in class, and I rarely ever fall asleep in class to begin with. The professor did not say anything about it, and while I felt guilty, I continued with my day.”

James, who rarely falls asleep in class, felt guilty about the incident. However, he did not expect the professor to address the situation in the manner that he did. The following day, James received an email from the professor with the subject line “You should be better.” The email contained a strongly-worded message berating James for falling asleep in class and suggesting that he should apologize to whoever was financing his education.

The email read, “I hesitated to send this email, but I think you could benefit from this feedback. You’re lucky you were sitting in the back — if you were up front I would have woken you up and told you to get out of my class. You should call whoever is bankrolling you right now and apologize for throwing away their money. Tell them you will be better and then BE BETTER. Hope this helps you, B (placeholder name).”

While James understands the importance of staying awake in class, he feels that the professor’s email was unprofessional and unreasonable, especially given that it was sent nearly 20 hours after the incident. He is now seeking advice on whether it would be appropriate to escalate the issue to the department dean or someone of similar authority.

As the professor in question is tenured, it remains unclear what actions, if any, can be taken to address the situation. The story has sparked a debate on the professionalism of educators and the appropriate ways to handle student issues in a higher education setting.

Feedback from Reddit

The story of James, a college student who received an unprofessional email from his tenured professor after dozing off during a documentary screening in class, has prompted a wide range of reactions from Reddit users. The online community shared their opinions and personal experiences, offering advice and support to the student.

Some users suggested that James should still bring up the issue with the department chair, even though the professor is tenured. They acknowledged that it is unlikely the professor would be fired, but emphasized the importance of voicing concerns.

Others users shared their own experiences with similar situations, offering examples of witty responses James could send to the professor. However, they also cautioned against sending such responses before final grades were posted, as it could potentially lead to retaliation from the professor.

“Tell him you worked an “overnight” shift the night before because you are trying to put yourself through college and then say your sorry and there’s a lot on your plate. I feel like that would shut him up. Play the victim lol”

Several users shared their perspective as professors, admitting that while it can be disappointing when students fall asleep in class, they typically ignore the situation and continue teaching. They believe that students who show up to class are trying their best, and it is not the professor’s responsibility to manage their personal lives.

“I’m a professor. Does it feel a little bad when students fall asleep in my class? Of course. I just keep going and ignore it though, I figure if you are bothering to show up then you are trying your best or else you would have just stayed home and slept.”

Some Redditors expressed the opinion that schools should not be concerned with issues such as attendance, sleeping in class, or completing assignments. They argued that it is the student’s personal responsibility to engage in class, and that professors should not worry about it since they are well compensated for their time.

“Unpopular opinion: schools shouldn’t care about stuff like this. Attendance, sleeping through/ignoring lectures, not completing assignments, etc. My personal responsibility to engage in class is not for you to worry about, you’re not the one who’s paying my tuition. I am an adult capable of making my own decisions. I might be wasting your time, but you’re well compensated for the trouble”.

Others tried to see the situation from the professor’s perspective, suggesting that the email could have been an attempt to reach out, albeit poorly executed. However, many users found the professor’s mention of the student’s financial situation inappropriate and offensive.

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