(Closed) Vent: Professor Rant (and also: Tips for College Students)

posted 6 years ago in College
Post # 3
Member
5296 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

Yikes, sounds like you have some doozies for students!

I never had to reschedule an exam, but I’ve tried to reschedule quizzes sometimes…..and some profs are more willing than others. Mostly because the ‘others’ have been burned one too many times but ungrateful or boundaries-pushing students.

Post # 4
Bee
1433 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012 - Historic Lougheed House

I go to school at a top-50 research institute, where teaching isn’t the focus. 

If any students tried to pull that shit they would be laughed at.  During my Undergrad, I was lucky if I ever talked to a Prof via email or anything like that.  It was strictly TA’s. 

I can’t belive college students would act like this.  Terrible. Makes me glad my parents didn’t raise me thinking everything should be handed to me. 

Post # 5
Member
3788 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Amen!

I taught for the first time on my own this semester (not as a TA), and I was AMAZED at what students think is acceptable. I had one student write on his test, “A word bank would have been nice.” When I told my graduate professors, most of them asked what a word bank even is! My students were complaining that I gave them “write-in” tests instead of multiple choice fill in the bubble tests. 

I also got the unprofessional, misspelled emails, too, often with things like “I couldn’t get the textbook ordered in time so I don’t think I can do the first two homework assignments.” Um… OK? Take a 0. What do you want me to tell you? It was really disheartening.

Post # 6
Member
10572 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

I disagree with you to an extent on point one.  It depends on the university (and maybe the province or state) but students may have the right to privacy.  In that case though, it would require a note from a medical professional.  I had to take a part time leave of absence which really went up a large chain due to stipends provided by both provincal and federal governments.  Other than stating what I was and was not capable of doing, my doctor did not include personal information regarding my illness.

Post # 8
Member
2103 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I don’t give final exams, just papers, so I don’t run into some of these issues, but I agree with you. I always feel like a lot of this is common sense and common courtesy, but the reailty of it is, it is no longer common! But I do find, if I want them to respond in a certain way to emails, I have to teach them that. I can’t expect for it to be something that they picked up along the way, unfortunately.

@AB Bride: I agree with you, but the point is having some documentation. You don’t need to tell me what you went to the doctor for, but having a note would suffice. I actually don’t require my students to provide documentation if they want to miss a class or file an extension for regular assignments, but if it’s a final or important paper or they will be missing classes for an extended peiod of time, this is essential.

Post # 9
Member
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I’ve had multiple professors say at the beginning of the semester, if an email is not addressed and written in a professional manner they will not read it. And then there are the professors who use textspeak and “Have a Safe Break!!!!!!!” in their emails… I know I’m in a relaxed department but it makes me cringe.

@Amaryllis: Word Bank? Really? I don’t think I’ve seen one since early high school.

Post # 10
Member
5296 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

When Darling Husband and I were in school, we were in the choirs – led by a husband/wife. He had the husband who was a real stickler for missing class. Well right around the time of the spring concert, DH’s grandma died. So he missed the concert and went home for the funeral. A month later, his other grandma died and Darling Husband missed a couple more classes. I still can’t believe that the director didn’t ask for a copy of the obituary or something, because my first thought as a professor would be that this kid has got to be lying!

Post # 11
Bee
1433 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012 - Historic Lougheed House

At the school I go to, to defer a final exam (or write one after you missed it), you either need to have a medical doctors note from a medical doctor AT the University (aka you can’t go to your own family doctor), or a school psychiatrist.  

If you missed it because you had a death in the family, you need a death certificate, and you need a note form the psychiatrist at the school.  No ifs and or buts. 

I think that stricter rules, and rules that are clearly laid out in the calendar, make it easier for students to abide by.  Students will always try to get away with whatever they can… so if they can’t get away with missing a final without seeing a medical doctor/psychiatrist… they often won’t miss the final.

Except for that one guy in my dorm floor in first year.  He missed an exam and went to the Doc and played sick.  Got diagnosed with something random (that he clearly didn’t have) and got it deferred to January.  

 

Post # 12
Member
580 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’m in the UK, so maybe a little different, but I can’t believe how people at university act. I do agree that everyone seems so unprofessional and I feel like a bit of an outsider. I’m only a few years older than the students out of school but I guess I’ve always been an old soul!

Post # 13
Member
10572 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

I agree with all the other points in the OP!  I just wanted to point that out as I remember in my first year I was scared when I missed a midterm.  I didn’t get it deferred but the weight was transfered to the final.  Luckily, my prof was very nice about it (and I was quite sick, running to the bathroom every few minutes to urinate blood).  I have also sucked it up and written exams with pneumonia.  If there is a legit reason students shouldn’t have to feel scared about it, nor should they have to provide personal details about their health (within reason).  My doctor was quite firm about what should and should not be provided in the note she wrote, as she has seen students have a tough time in academia when their health problems were revealed up the chain to the point where it was discriminatory.

There are some profs who abuse their power and are jerks when students are dealing with a tough situation.  They probably do this to an extent because there are students who try to work the system, but it really makes it difficult for the ones honestly going through a crises or illness.  Stressed/ill students do not need stress added either by profs or by other students cheating the system.

Post # 14
Member
2584 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Oh wow, you’ve had some rude students! I’ve had to reschedule exams due to illness but saying “I have a serious medical issue” is way better than just saying “I need to retake the exam.” I go to a huge research-based school also, but I do email my professors sometimes. I can’t imagine being rude, I want them on my side when they’re grading me! lol

Post # 15
Member
772 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

First, I totally hear you frustration and need to vent.  My students can drive me CRAZY!

But I do somewhat disagree. I TA at an R1 and I have a proactive policy of trying to recognize and deal with students who are having problems before the exam.  I get a lot of transfer students and some first gen, and recognize that many of these students did not have the benefit of the mentoring relationships I had, or the experiences of parents and siblings to fall back on.  Expectations in their previous schools were often very different.  These students also tend to hesitate to talk with the TA or the Professor, and just struggle through on their own, in cntrast to their peers. These types of problems tend to crop up earlier in the semester than the final.  I try to recognize and head off problems early in the semester, and integrate professional student/first job development in my teaching. 

I agree it is so annoying how some students act entitled and think the world revolves around them, but while some of them are never going to be reached, many just don’t know the “rules.”  Of course, it is WAY more work, but some of my greatest satisfaction comes from feeling that a student that wanted to learn, but had barriers that kept them from performing at their potential, gained the understanding of to do that.  That is something they will carry into future classes and even their careers.

Given your student population, it may help to connect things like not texting, writing full grammatically correct sentences, and using titles such as Mr. and Mrs. when addressing people in positions of authority to working life and not just school assignments.  I think many of these students tend to think college is this foreign thing with wierd rules and not a lot of connection to their lives. But they generally understand working and jobs and most are at the university because they want a career they know they can’t attain without it.

Post # 16
Member
2393 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Holy cow.  Some people have no idea!  I was a first generation college student and TERRIFIED because I had absolutely no idea what to expect and anyone to talk to.  Thank goodness I had some common sense…worked wonders in school. lol

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