Book review: Say This, NOT That to Your Professor

Book review: Say This, NOT That to Your Professor

If you are anything like me, you probably feel like you have a habit of saying the wrong thing. Especially when you desperately need to say the right thing. Like, say, to a professor. If you have this problem, then you definitely need to read Ellen Bremen’s book, “Say This, NOT That to Your Professor.” This book outlines 36 possible situations and describes the message you might project, and the message you should project.

Take this for example: A student challenging a received grade. This is a common occurrence at any college and is a time when you need to check your anger, listen to your professor and present your case rationally and calmly. If you say “I worked so hard on that paper! I should have an A!,” according to Bremen, your professor thinks “Your hard work doesn’t guarantee you any grade.” This brief excerpt is a microcosm of Bremen’s entire book.

“Say This, NOT That” adeptly takes you through circumstances you will likely experience in college and advises you on what you need to say, even when you want to say something completely different. Bremen, being a professor herself, even describes what your hypothetical words will sound like to your instructor. This book has the advantage of understanding the situations of college students (like needing extensions, feeling overwhelmed with work, receiving a poor grade), advising the student on how to handle them and describing what a professor will think about them. Bremen uses her profession and her empathy towards students to write a book that is the best guide on how to communicate with professors, while getting the help that you want and need.

If you are a student who is shy and needs help on how to talk to authority figures, or if you are someone who just needs a lesson on how not to put your foot in your mouth, you should read Ellen Bremen’s guide. In 36 hypothetical-but-realistic tips, she takes the perspective of the student and the professor and creates a way for you to communicate in the best way possible.



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