Question of Atheist Scruples – bad teacher?

One of your professors is an incompetent teacher who grades too easy. Some classmates have a petition demanding his replacement. Do you sign it?

Three personal history stories first:

First story. My K-7 elementary school didn’t have a French-specialist teacher in the ’80s so for grades 4-7 the teaching was done by whoever was assigned. It didn’t matter overly much at that school what level of French we were getting, but I sure as hell noticed a difference when I switched to the junior high for grade 8 and wound up in French class with kids who’d been at that junior high for their grade 7 year where the French teacher was an actual French man from Quebec who was actually teaching usable French and verb conjugation and all kinds of vocabulary. Those kids really had a leg up compared to me and my grade 7 experience which, comparatively, was grade 3 level drilling on colours and days of the week. It was really frustrating to be thrust into the real thing and be so clueless.

Second story. I was already in Band by junior high which exempted me from the music class others were in and, by all accounts, the Music teacher was terrible at his job. At least once in his own class, I was told, he passed out the marked exams for his students to look over for any marking errors or whatever, then took them back with the intention of marking the grades down officially but then lost the exams somewhere. He then asked every student if they remembered what they got on the test. Of course people lied. He was oblivious to cheating in general and apparently would grade girls easier if they wore skirts and flirted.

I experienced him only through a semester of lunch break choir practice and the few times he’d subbed for other courses, like Math and English. He’d make mistakes in lessons there, too. Eventually, the kids had enough and took the matter to the principal. I can’t recall if I got interviewed over it but I might have. I wouldn’t have had much in the way of testimony as I wasn’t in any of his regular classes, but I probably would have backed up my friends.

Third story from university and my introductory computer course. The professor was fine but the TA was an Asian fellow with a very thick accent and it seemed like everyone in the class wanted someone else to take over our lab sessions and took it up with the prof. I don’t recall where I stood on that one now, but he was really struggling to explain things in English and make himself understood and everyone was complaining about it. Poor bugger. He could have been the cleverest guy we were going to run into that year and we sidelined him. 

So, to this question. Would I sign a petition? Maybe. It may depend on the type of class it is and how much I care about it.

If it’s a throwaway filler class I have no interest in pursuing as my major, I may happily take the easy grades and focus my energies on whatever mandatory coursework is required for the degree I do care about.  

If it’s happening in a class that should be better preparing me for future classes in my chosen field, however, I’d feel cheated and concerned about the quality of my education going into it. 
Which is how my peers taking that “filler” class as a mandatory one would be feeling.

Pop culture and “quality” education:

Bad Teacher which I didn’t bother to see. It just sounded like absolute crap. Going by IMDB, Cameron Diaz “stars” as a middle school teacher who hates the job but can’t afford breast implants without it once her rich fiancé calls it quits.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 4 – not my favourite, but does feature scenes of Buffy trying college on for size and that shit ain’t fitting overly well. She signed up for what she hoped would a blow-off pop culture class but gets ejected by the jerky prof within minutes of sitting down. Her psychology class isn’t a lot better, but at least her professor likes her, sort of. Professor Walsh winds up having some horrible secret mission shit going on and Buffy winds up in the middle of the mess that woman’s making with her monster-hunting militia and favourite army boy, Riley Finn. 

Community — oh, how to pick something from that one. Ken Jeong plays Chang, the shittiest Spanish teacher in the world. He’s certifiable with some serious anger issues.

The pottery teacher pitches a fit over anyone trying to duplicate that scene from Ghost. Betty White does a fun cameo episode as the anthropology prof who deliberately tranquilizes one student and could easily kill Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) while trying to prove a point about weaponry. John Oliver is in several episodes as Ian Duncan, foremost a psychology prof, but who fills in for Ms. White after the weapon episode and decides that anthropology, being the study of people, allows for entire lessons to be filled with Youtube videos of people who’ve Autotuned farts. There’s also a gym instructor who teaches valuable lessons about playing pool with or without gym shorts, a Who’s The Boss expert who gets schooled, a drama instructor who takes things to extremes and a life coach kind of “Carpe Diem” guy who tries to make people live in the moment, to the point of absurdity. Last of all, there’s the Dean (Jim Rash) who really shouldn’t be in charge of anything so important as education…

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