There is an element of frustration when someone else has YOUR fate in their hands. Especially when you believe they may be manipulating your fate in ways you do not like. So, one outlet is to complain anonymously (i.e., safely) on the web; knowing that other members of your cohort AND possibly even the professor, will get to read about it.
True, some students justify their online complaints by also posting favorable reviews of OTHER professors as well. This probably makes them feel as though their complaints are "balanced" or "justified" rather than biased. After all, if all students did was complain about professors, then that would seem like a personal problem. But by giving positive reviews (sometimes), it helps to make a person feel that their complaints are more valid/honest/etc.
Ok, whatever... this page isn't about all THAT stuff, though. Instead, I'd like to direct you attention to the idea that most professors have been doing the teaching gig for a LOT longer than you have been a student. They also SEE a lot more students than you see professors. For example, in the years that I've been here, I see an average of about 100 brand-new student faces in my classrooms EVERY semester!
Believe me, we have SEEN it all, we have HEARD it all... You might THINK you are fooling your professor with some excuse. You see them smile warmly and sympathetically, and give you that extension, or accept this excuse... But most likely, they don't care. Teaching is a lot of work. If a student is THAT committed to a lie (or exageration) in order to "get away with" missing class or getting an extension, then fine. We can turn our attention to the students who are there for an education (rather than waste extra time on those who are there just for their degree).
BUT KEEP IN MIND, someday, if ANY student thinks that he or she might need a letter of recommendation for graduate school, or for a job, they should keep in mind that professors are under NO obligation to LIE about you in their letter!
MOST professors will probably avoid the ugly truth, though, merely by ommitting those from the letter. The result being a very brief letter along the following lines:
To whom it may concern,|
I have been asked to write a letter of support for STUDENT who I have known since ________ as I have had STUDENT in ________ classes. These classes included, CLASS-1, ..., CLASS-n, and STUDENT performed adequately in MOST/ALL of them earning a mean grade of about ________ on a 4.0 scale.
If you should require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Not much to say, really. But that was a student who really didn't say much in class anyway. The professor clearly does not really know the student. This is unfortunate. Most of the places (graduate schools or potential employers) are looking for information about reliability, aptitude, ability to take on challenging tasks, potential for success, communication skills, etc. These can sometimes be extracted from course work, but only rarely and probbaly never ALL qualities needed to write a good letter. So obviously one point that could be taken from this is to get the professor to know you AND demonstrate the skills and qualities that can be written about you in a strong letter.
BUT MY REAL POINT ONLY BEGINS NOW!
Imagine what the professor COULD (should?) have said if the student engaged in ANY of the following classroom behaviors: