Thursday, February 14, 2013

Oh This Will Sound Conceited

There's no way around it. I have to just say it. I happen to think I'm pretty good at learning things. As in, I take notes and study and generally (besides a bad bout with an algebra teacher in high school) I test well. When students complain that a teacher is "hard," I feel qualified to suggest that perhaps the teacher wouldn't seem so hard if you paid attention in class, read the material, and did the homework.

So yes, there's one area of my life where I think very highly of myself. It's a little pathetic, I know. But I needed to say that because I can't otherwise begin to explain how frustrated I am with a teacher this semester. I've managed so far to maintain an A in the class, but for the first time in my life, I found myself hitting up the rate my professor website to make sure I'm not the only person who feels like I'm unsure of what is expected by this teacher.

For example, she is unsure how to teach. I am not saying that I could do better, but that a teacher should do better. Her idea of teaching is to tell us to read ahead (and though we have unit guidelines, the nebulous "read ahead" can mean that next class we'll cover three pages of material to covering fifteen) and then, next class, complain that none of us have taught ourselves the material. When you hear your teacher saying, "I'm going to teach you guys these concepts" but then two minutes later she's complaining that no one is answering her questions about the concept we're supposedly being taught, there is a problem. And this problem is not with your students, but with how you are teaching and how you are communicating.

Oh, and constantly saying "you guys look like you're confused. Does anyone have a question?" is also not teaching. The people who are confused are so unsure of how to begin to word a question that they'd rather just nod and let the lecture continue than to try and ask anything.

And another thing - when you go through your powerpoint slides and continually say "oh, I'm not sure why I put that slide in there," I'm just going to go ahead and say that you are not inspiring confidence in your ability to teach.

I had a math class like this once, although it was not as bad, and I do feel for students who are trying to learn and coming to class and getting tripped up because maybe figuring out crazy teachers isn't their strong suit and they feel lost and confused when they shouldn't. I find myself asking questions in class as a means to clarify information to my fellow students. (And, being the occasionally conceited person that I am, feeling really happy when they tell me that the way I stated it made a lot of sense.)

We had an exam. The material it covered was certainly in the book, but the concepts that she had stressed over and over were less present than the concepts that she mentioned once, in passing. As a teacher, it is your prerogative to test however you like, but that seems a little harsh.

Overall, I still think I'll manage to make an A in this class, but I do regret to say that I wish I chose a different teacher and I think it's unfair to the people less versed in dealing with crazy (I have a bachelor's degree worth of experience on that!). Everything came to a point when we had a substitute teacher last class, and he taught the material so well and coherently that it was a real joy to have a substitute.

So that's that. Those are my frustrations with my teacher and I feel they are validated. Obviously.

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