Professors’ Sins…

I may be boring — but probably not consistently so…
I would say that being boring is a lesser evil — not everything has to be fun or entertaining, although — I’d worry that a boring prof is a bored prof…

No — more egregious is a professor who orders a bunch of books for their students to buy and then not assigning material from them. Students don’t have a lot of cash (duh!) — and it trains students to expect books not to be relevant to their classes, so when they get to my classes and get assignments out of them — they’re shocked…. because the other proffies didn’t do that.

Another no-no is putting stuff on the test that wasn’t covered in class.  There’s a difference between “covered” and “discussed” — so, students should be able to apply concepts from the class to new information, but new concepts aren’t fair.

I also think that the syllabus is a contract with students — so, the professor should take care to write a syllabus that’s reasonable to cover in the time allotted.  They should also keep tests and papers due very close to when they are on the syllabus – as long as there isn’t a huge emergency, snow days etc… it seems that if a student is expecting to take an exam, that exam should happen when it’s scheduled.

Finally, it’s the professor’s job to maintain a good learning environment in the classroom.  This can be tricky, perhaps the most difficult part of teaching, but it’s essential.  Disruptive students need to be dealt with immediately — permitting one or two students to hijack a conversation or to do other things that make classroom conversation difficult isn’t acceptable.  Sacrificing the group for the “needs” of one or two isn’t a good thing.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Professors’ Sins…

  1. CJ

    Agreed — add to that being too busy to teach well, doing a lot of conference travel and canceling classes and having your TA teach more than a few sessions.

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