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My geology teacher was a decent guy but every now and then would get pretty sassy. He’d stare at us when he wanted us to be quiet; he wanted us to notice when he was silently and patiently waiting. Sometimes if we didn’t quiet down fast enough he would say, “Wow, this is a chatty class,” and talk about how he wanted to get started. One time he even let us out early because we weren’t paying enough attention to him.

The worst was after our first exam, when he got all butt-hurt about our scores. He was like “I don’t understand why the scores are so low. There are lots of D’s and I don’t feel like the covered material was particularly challenging.” Then he shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “Well, that’s it then,” and started up his lecture. We just sat there as he complained about our scores and no one offered a rebuttal.

I don’t really know how the other students felt but I didn’t have much to gripe about. I fell asleep every lecture and didn’t study at all beforehand so it was a well-deserved D. I might have been upset or sad if I had actually tried and got that grade, but this time, for once, it was my fault.

But it still annoys me when professors complain about their test scores; it’s not like they’re getting paid any less, or offering us comfort, or asking what they did wrong. They treat us as if they’ve done everything perfect and how could we not get better grades since they are so awesome at teaching. If everyone’s grades suck, that can’t be the students’ fault exclusively; things weren’t taught well. Professors should get upset if most of their students have lousy grades on an exam, but they shouldn’t get upset at the students. They should curse themselves for designing lousy tests and being lousy instructors.

What professors and teachers and TAs etc. need to learn—if they haven’t already—is that teaching isn’t about the teacher. If it was, the class wouldn’t have all those desks and chairs. Teachers wouldn’t need the biggest lecture halls or the tiniest classrooms. Unless a student is blatantly disrespecting a teacher, teaching isn’t about how teachers feel. No brash opinions about an exam at the end of a semester or quarter are necessary. Teaching is about what the students get out of the course and how the students change and develop as people. It’s about impacting lives and helping students make choices that help them make the world a better place. None of us want to end up on “Crime Stoppers.”

So from my guy, Derek smith, I came out of his high school junior English class a stronger writer, comfortable with her voice. From his journalism class I came out a stronger person. Now we have a strong friendship that will last through any impending alien war. We help each other out, like me contributing to this here blog. So if you teachers haven’t impacted a student’s life or are constantly nagging about unimportant stuff like exam scores—which don’t reflect a student’s state as a human being—then GET ON YOUR JOB!

This is Ajane, from Diatribes From a Point Junkie, signing off.

Ajane’ Burnley is a junior at Western Washington University. Her 20th birthday was on Easter this year and she bought a yellow North Face vest. She knows sleeping in class is a waste of tuition but sometimes the Econ professor talks too much. Writing is one of the things she enjoys most, and she should make more time to write that science fiction novel. It features a young Black female heroine, because she says so.

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  1. October 12, 2012

    Awesome series. More Ajane soon, please!

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