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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On Being a Saboteur Academic


With the semester well under way, I've begun to regain my scholastic cynicism. Especially when it comes to professors.

Is it just me or do professors just plain suck at teaching?

I mean, it's like they purposefully make themselves unhelpful. They are frustrating, unapologetically frustrating, and extremely arrogant. But not in a cool, funny way -- it's more of a lame, self-serving, condescending kind of way.

All of the burden is on the student, yet the student is the one paying to be taught. All of the work is put upon the student, yet the student is the one that needs the most help. All of the blame is put upon the student, yet the student is not the one doing the teaching. All of the responsibilities are put upon the student, and the professor retains all of the privileges.

Unequal situation, much?

This is just a quick note to say: professors need to remember who pays their salary.

Oh yeah, that's right!

The Students.



Cheers

12 footnotes:

Mira said...

This sounds so familliar.

Wait... What happens with the whole "US has fantastic college professors?"

Do they receive any formal training? In my country they don't. They are just experts in their fields. Best of the best you could say. But many make horrible teachers (maybe it's because they care more about their science/research than the students?)

Zek J Evets said...

@mira:

Hahaha! I never knew there was a stereotype of the US having "fantastic college professors"! Honestly, they're all supposed to be "experts" in their respective fields, but not a one of them has any significant training as a teacher. They couldn't teach a mouse how to eat cheese!

I guess it's the same the world over =(

Mango said...

I'm only a sophomore in college and I'm already ready to bounce out of here and move on. I'm not learning anything that I could go and research on my own. Then again, my major isn't anything in the sciences or mathematical field.

Don't get my started on my professors. Many of them go off on political diatribes instead of teach and when they do teach, it is almost always heavily drenched in a political bullfish.

We had a History prof tell his students after teaching about the Crusades that he could never be Muslim because they spread their religion by the sword.

You can imagine the strong blank stares he received.

*hops off soap box*

Jasmin said...

Mira,

Yes, there is a lot of pressure on professors to focus on research and getting published. At some universities, professors have to publish a certain amount of articles every few years in order to stay hired.

I went to a university that's trying to build it's research reputation, and sometimes the pressure is annoying. I've disappointed countless people in not pursuing graduate study in psychology, because apparently I'm a special snowflake like that. ;-)

Zek J Evets said...

@mango: oh yeah, seriously. i feel your pain.

my professors tend to be more toward the more socialist-leftist end of the scale -- which is fine, since i consider myself left of center compared to most people -- but in a classroom, i don't want to hear partisan politics; i want to learn the subject they're being paid to teach me.

let me just join you back on the soapbox, actually, haha, because i've had SOOOO many awkward moments with professors, especially when dealing with my fellow students. see, the kids i go to class with seem to think they "know" something because once upon a time a friend of theirs was blah blah blah (and so on with their personal life) which ultimately leads up to some INCREDIBLY racist/sexist/classist/ignorant/offensive statement... which subsequently goes unchallenged by the professor, leading everyone to the insane conclusion that it might actually be the truth.

times like those i can only bang my head against the desk.

anyways, thanks for sharing your experiences and comments!

@jasmin: yes, you are a special snowflake.

or something like that =P

Calculator said...

Zek J Evets

If I may ask, which type of college/university do you go to? Community college? Public 4-year state? Ivy league? Private 4-year? The quality of professors really depends on the school you go to.

Zek J Evets said...

@Calculator:

I go to a public 4-year university. I started at a junior/community college, and I actually learned more there than I do here. However, I have seen this problem at all levels of education, from people who go to Stanford or Notre Dame, to people who go to city colleges and For-Profit universities.

The problem isn't WHAT we're learning, but HOW we're being taught.

Student of the World said...

I go to a private college, and everyone here complains about the quality of the professors. Literally EVERYONE. One of the majors factors in my deciding to change schools.

Zek J Evets said...

@SotW: Yeah, I've found that JC profs are generally better than public university profs who are kinda sorta better than private school profs who are a smidgeon better than ivy league profs.

basically the douchebaggery increases exponentially up the price-scale for a college ; )

if you don't mind my asking, what was the old private uni you changed from?

Student of the World said...

@ Zek
Well thanks for telling me, where were you 10 months ago?

It's not even a Uni, its an overpriced nursing school called D'youville College. Its overpriced because it's across the border from Canada and I think 50% Canadian. They pay in cash.

For all the money you pay to go here, I actually had a DOUCHEBAG sociology Professor(he was racist too) say in lecture that Hugo Chavez was president of Argentina.

I corrected him, and I starting skipping that class after that. I still passed because his opinion was all that was being taught and that was relatively easy to guess.(He liked to dictate so he hated having a smart freshman in his class.He was happy to see me go.)

I've applied to two cheaper nursing schools in the area and the State University. I think I'll be better off.

Student of the World said...

BTW the Canadian students go there because they think it'll give them an edge over the competition and they can afford it. One of them that I know personally, her father is a Racecar driver and her mother comes from old money. Canadian Unis are cheap (5,000) a year but they are actually merit based.(and it's difficult to get housing on campus especially in Toronto.) If you're not proficient academically it's harder to get into them. They prefer not to wait. It's not because the quality of education is worse, it's actually much better.

They also tend to be quite snobbish about the fact that they are basically buying opportunity. "We'll get hired over a person from U of T."
" Really? If you say so cookie. But aren't you at all concerned that the education here is garbage? Don't you want to have good preparation for what your actual career?"

But this doesn't seem to be a concern to them.

Now if I was of a particular cast of mind and only acquainted with this segment of the Canadian population(thankfully I'm not), I would be inclined to think negatively of Canadians based off of the way most behave here. But again I know non rich WASP Canadians so I don't obviously.

Zek J Evets said...

@SotW: 10 months ago? I was in the middle of summer vacation I 'spose... somewhere around there. I was in the middle of my academic career at my current college. Now I'm at the penultimate semester, thank cryst's bloody ankles.

The Uni you're talking about sounds pretty terrible, and kinda reminds me of the for-profit schools we've got here in the US that are currently being protested against for their deceptive practices that leave so many students in debt with no job opportunity, and a rubber-stamped diploma. Many don't even know how to do the jobs they went to college to learn how to do in the first place! It's sad, and people know about this, yet it still goes on.

Your story about correcting your professor sounds similar to many situations I've found myself in with my professors. I once had this guy who, during his office hours, actually admitted that I was right and that he graded my paper wrong, but couldn't change it because he thought that the lesser grade would be "good for me". Haha, it was so obviously unfair, but unfortunately he had tenure and I was a freshman. What can you do in that situation? Live, learn, and make sure to get proof you can use as leverage.

Although it IS kinda heartening to see that it's not just American colleges that are so effed up! ; )