DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a college student who made an etiquette mistake with my professor: I said "hi" to him when greeting him. He reprimanded me in front of a class of 50 people, saying I am to always say "hello" to the professor. He told me he did not get a doctorate for me to address him using "hi" as a greeting. I found this to be so rude, especially as he was lecturing me on how to be polite while embarrassing me in front of my classmates. After class, other students came up to me and called my professor names to make me feel better.
I'm not sure how to continue to be an active student in this class when the professor thinks he is above his students. Is it time to just be a face in the crowd? I was trying to be an active participant until this incident. -- Sad Student, New Orleans
DEAR SAD STUDENT: Drum up the courage to schedule a private meeting with your professor. During the meeting, apologize for speaking to him in a too-familiar manner. Then let him know that the way that he reprimanded you in front of the class was terribly embarrassing; plus, it backfired because many students felt compelled to speak derogatorily about him in defense of you. Tell him how hard it is for you to come to talk about this, but the reason you did was that you really want to be active in your class. Right now you feel uncomfortable about speaking up ever again.