Night School (and a small light at the end of the tunnel)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oh yes, friends, a new rant. I've had to put the wedding pics on hold until I can figure out how to deal with the faces I can't share and because I finally have the actual pictures I own the rights to, so that I don't have to (illegally) post the water-marked pictures anymore. However, I still have to get these pictures onto the computer, but it will be done soon. Like possibly tomorrow soon. So for now, onto other news...

My night class is killing me. Not necessarily with the material, but the professor. I've tried to refrain from ranting too much because I was trying to reserve judgement, but the (very polite and respectful) argument we got into last night all but ruined any chance of that.

The class is Chem II and it is condensed from a semester into 15 classes, 3 hours each. It's intense to say the least and since the class started last Tuesday, about half the students have dropped. The professor does not speak English. And generally, this does not bother me because we all come from different backgrounds and half the time I can't understand the people here who are speaking English. However, she REALLY doesn't speak English. I spend about 2/3 of the class trying to decipher the words she's saying, which in the end, really doesn't harm my learning since all she's doing is reading slides and deriving formulas, both of which I happen to be proficient at. She can't, however, answer anyone's questions because she doesn't understand us either.

We have homework each night, a quiz each class and a test every 3-4 classes. All of this is again, very intense, but really, it's doable and its reasonable for the amount of time we have to get through the course. Here's where my real problem is. The first night she assigned us homework, which was fine and well. She told us to make a copy of it so we could correct it AFTER we turned it in. A little weird, but okay. Then we get to class and the first thing she does is distribute the quiz, without going over the homework at all. When we asked about it, she said she'd go over the homework at the end of the class. Huh? So we do the quiz, we listen to the "lecture" and then we go over the homework, and lo and behold, half the class did about half of it wrong, which is a really good indicator of how we probably did on the quiz.

Fine, I let it go. I did okay on the quiz (I think, not that she's actually graded it in the week since we took it...) and I was willing to move on. Until this weekend. She assigned homework Thursday that we had to email our multiple choice answers in on Saturday night. Great, I did it, it took me several hours and I was meticulous. And for a wonderful change, after all the homework was due, she posted the answers. I got a 50%. Upon looking at my homework, I figured out all my mistakes and really, had a much better grasp on the material. I would even say that for the first time since starting the class, I actually learned something.

Here's my problem. Despite the fact that I spent 4 solid hours working on that homework, I'm getting an F on it. Someone who took the paper and chose answers at random may have gotten a higher score than me and this is not fair. Better yet, she outright refused to explain any of the answers in class (it didn't so much matter for me), so the whole class was lost. And then she went ahead and gave us a test.

I'm sorry, this is not fair on 2 separate fronts.

First, you can't give homework and not go over it or give an answer key until after you quiz on the same material. How the hell are we supposed to know what we're doing? Which is exactly what I asked her (minus the word hell, I do have a small shred of decency somewhere). Her answer to this question and every single one that everyone else asks is that I should go to the chemistry tutor from 9:30 to 10:30 each morning and study for 6 hours. But this is a 7-10pm class where about half the students work and the other half have other day classes (note that I have neither...). That isn't an acceptable answer to a class-wide problem.

My other disgruntlement is that you cannot give homework assignments and grade them for correctness if you're going to turn around and give a quiz on the exact same material and also grade it for correctness. That's 2 quizzes! That's double jeopardy, especially if you don't give the answers to the homework so you can check your work. As a former (and God willing, a future) teacher, I can tell you that's just not how you teach. The whole point of homework is to learn the material, not to be punished for trying.

And I tried, oh how I tried, to politely convey this point. And the only responses I got were to go to the tutor and that this is an intensive class. After 30 minutes of trying to speak with her I gave up. I may as well have slammed my head into a brick wall for 30 minutes for all the good it did.

However, after I walked out of the building (for the record, I actually politely emailed her with my concerns earlier and she demanded that we talk in person after class, I'm not at all a confrontational person), I got a round of applause from all the remaining students.* So I may be whiny, but at least I'm in line with the popular opinion.

So basically at this point, I'm waiting to see what my test grade from last night is (God only knows when it'll be graded) and then deciding if I need to drop the course. The last time this professor taught the class more than half of the students failed and she didn't curve it, so I'm not willing to risk that. I'd rather take an incomplete and take it later for an A or B. And you know, if I don't have class then I can actually sit in bed all day long without exercising a single muscle besides the one controlling the remote control.

(*A round of applause from every student except one, but that's because she's got a different vendetta. She's the one person in the class of disgruntled people who has to express her disgruntled-ness all. the. time. And if I hear her say "well I have to work for a living" one more time as an excuse for not doing homework or not preparing for a quiz (hello, personal problem!), I'm going to cram my calculator down her throat. My favorite was yesterday when she was trying to pound home her point about how she had to work because "mommy and daddy weren't paying for college like everyone else." I almost killed her on the spot. What I wouldn't give for a freaking job right now. And mommy and daddy haven't paid for my education for sometime now, thankyouverymuch.)

And on to other news...

I called my former work today and it turns out my boss is at a conference. This is GOOD news. It means she's not just ignoring me. I also contacted my former department chair and he is going to go to the mattresses for me and see if he can help me get my job back. If nothing else, I should have a definitive yes or no about my job sometime this week, which is really all I can ask for at this point.

In the meantime, I'm going to see what other jobs I can get with my bachelor's degree in nonsense that will pay enough to cover my rent, bills, and spectacular credit card debt. Oh, and perhaps study for chemistry. And get my tired fixed since Pep Boys had a 2+ hour wait yesterday.


Flea said...

Have you gone to the department chair to respectfully discuss this teacher? I can almost guarantee she's had other students complain. Having a student complain about a teacher in an intelligent, insightful way always helps.

Monkling said...

No clue about the whole class thing. I'm out of school way to long to offer any advice. On the photos, however - you can always pixelize the faces or put a little black square over their faces. Or smudge them. Hey I guess it depends who the photo is of on how you'd want to hide their identity. You can stick flames on any of the MIL. Or horns. Or....

Katie said...


That was my initial thought too. I spoke with one of the other students and they said last summer that happened and they cancelled the course altogether. While I can retake the class another time, I know that a lot of the other students can't and I surely wouldn't want to ruin it for them.

If worse comes to worse, I'll drop and let those who need the class, continue with it and send an email to the department chair at the end of the course.

nola said...

Drop her. Drop. Drop. Drop. Life is too short. And as flea suggests, complain. And drop. Did I mention drop? Drop.

Wanna babysit for food? ;0

jojo said...

you know that light is a train, right?? ; )