Monday, February 16, 2009

Rant on College

College is supposed to be about learning, no? A safe learning environment with professors that are meant to foster education. Then why do they waste our time? At what point are the professors supposed to truly reflect on their course plan? How may take the time to understand what they are capable of teaching effectively and thoroughly?

I don't even want to write this post. I don't wish to come off rude. But there must be some checks and balances somewhere, right? Consider this my check. Now give me my balance.

This semester compared to the last is almost night and day. I came back to school to finish my degree under the advisement of many friends and because I know my mother and father would wish me to have that piece of paper, that status object. I think they just wanted me to suffer the same things they went through so that we'd have more things to talk about in common.

So what's causing me so much grief? The University doesn't understand that my time is worth money (and I'm paying quite a bit to be here). Teachers waste time and my patience.

For instance, I have an English teacher who in the past month has (let me break out my list): skipped class without warning or apologies, failed to return or grade papers by a promised date that are neccessary for an upcoming assessment, pushed back agreed upon dates from the syllabus to cover her skipping class, not responded within a timely manner to two different emails I've sent her, and has no concept of time management. Let's also add that she reads aloud to college students. I'll get back to this one.

For instance, I have a CS teacher who: reads directly from slides, asks questions that are answered on the board (with a 15 second pause to prompt someone else to read from the slide), and teaches with less enthusiasm than a DMV worker at 4:30. Thank you, sir. I can read just fine. But thanks for helping out.

All is not bleak. I do have other teachers who are trying to teach. They're not the best teachers I've had and aren't inspirational in any way. However, they're not making me want to write blog postings about how poor their teaching abilities are.

I said we'd get back to the reading aloud thing, so here it is. If you assign something that should be read, then why are you going to read it to us again in class? Are we not capable of reading? I know it's a sophomore level class, but I think that you could give a passage page and line number and expect us to find that section. When you're not covering but half of the material you assigned because you're reading (unenthusiastically and without adding anything to the material) then at what point to you evaluate what you're doing? Clearly, she has worse time management skills than I do. Doesn't show up for class, doesn't return emails, doesn't teach all of the assigned readings to their fullest extent, and treats her students as if they were illiterate.

Don't even get me started on the curriculum for CS students. Too late. Long rant short: Pick what Computer Science is supposed to be. It's either a professional degree (i.e. producing programmers) or a theoretical degree (i.e. producing research and development). There isn't enough time to teach it all in an effective way. And that just wastes my time some more.

Why am I here? Does this piece of paper mean so much? Is it just a battle scar? I wish I had gone to a University where people wanted to teach. I sure would like to learn.


  1. I have a feeling many profs/instructors work hard for a few semesters and then put it on autopilot. Same material, different faces. Give them tenure and it gets worse. It seems in today's world of ever increasing costs for education, students should be able to demand value for their investment.

    I have a feeling individuals like yourself demanding more would make a difference. But how many of your classmates are there just because mommy and daddy told them it's what they are to do?

    I graduated from a small liberal arts university and rarely found profs who weren't truly passionate about their subject. Your blog makes me even more thankful for the education I received oh so many years (decades) ago.

    Hey... it's your investment. Demand more. Well, so long as it doesn't short-circuit your degree. I have a chemist buddy who did his doctoral work but one prof killed his PhD. Bitch cautiously.

  2. Todd....Demanding more is quite the problem. There's a hierarchy that just isn't fitting for complaints at the University. A college degree is just a symbol for homogenization of character traits. To defy what they're saying is to defy what they're trying to accomplish.

    Unfortunately, so many people in the world still believe that a college degree proves something. They come up with answers like "it proves that the candidate can finish something", "it gives a strong balance", "it teaches someone how to learn", etc.

    At this point, it's been a lesson on how to suck it up and get through something that I don't care to do.

  3. Maybe you shouldn't pick shitty teachers


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