Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

What would you do in my (or my classmates) shoes?

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27 Replies - 1267 Views - Last Post: 17 October 2007 - 03:15 PM

#1 aceofspades686  Icon User is offline

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Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 01:02 AM

EDIT: I went back and edited out my original post because, looking back after things were resolved, some of the things I said were a bit too harsh and some of the ways I worded things made things seem somewhat different than what they really were. I apologize if any of you feel like I misled you, because even though the situation was bad, I was upset at the time of writing this so I did blow a lot of things out of proportion. I will be closing this thread as well since the issue was resolved. Thank you all for all of your advice even with the misleading initial information.

This post has been edited by aceofspades686: 17 October 2007 - 04:14 PM


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#2 maggie_noodles  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 01:34 AM

View Postaceofspades686, on 15 Oct, 2007 - 04:02 PM, said:

..I plan to on Wednesday (we're off Monday/Tuesday for fall break) go and sit down with him in his office and confront him about all this and hope he doesn't get upset. Do you think that's a good idea?


Yes. I'd do the same if I were on your spot. I did it before anyway. ;)
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#3 Louisda16th  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 02:31 AM

Chris has written some pretty good tips for CS students. CHECK HERE.
My advice would be, not to get even close to irritating your teacher. He is going to be the one giving grades. Study on your own :). That's what virtually everyone does in my class and I've learn't a subject better when I studied it independently. I've taken up the same stream as my dad but I never ask him any questions because I'd prefer finding out the answers on my own.
If you wan't similar incidents, check out born2c0de's blog. Its been named "Professor Screw ups and Life" quite appropriately :)!!
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#4 RodgerB  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 02:36 AM

I've found myself in the same boat, my advice is to just go with the flow, after all, it's the grades that judicate jobs. As Louisda16th was saying, you learn more from your own experience than anything else.
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#5 aceofspades686  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 02:42 AM

Well, the biggest problem right now is that,our grades do depend on this regardless of how much independent study we do because he arbitrarily says that assignments are due without ever assigning them.

To be honest with you, the reason I'm going to him is almost as much for his own sake as it is for mine or the rest of the classes, because several of them have said that if things don't change soon that they're going to the dean as a group to get something done about it.

Personally, I've done enough with PHP to where I know most everything this class covers anyway, I'm just there for the piece of paper. It just aggravates me to see a teacher neglect their students like this, a lot in the same way it aggravates me to see a parent neglect a child.

EDIT: Another good example is that, at the last class he suddenly took 35% off our latest project for "not providing a flow chart" which he never assigned. When we asked him he said "It should be understood that in this course you should always do and turn in a flow chart for every assignment we do." and there was no mention of this in the syllabus or anywhere.

This post has been edited by aceofspades686: 15 October 2007 - 02:47 AM

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#6 jjhaag  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 02:47 AM

Tough situation, ace.

I haven't actually taken any programming classes, but swap PHP/MySQL for any other subject matter, and this is an unfortunately frequent occurence in universities. Not the norm, in my experience, but most people that I've encountered have had similar sorts of problems.

Going and talking to him is the right choice, but it may not have result in what you want. You could very easily wind up pissing him off. And although there would be no ethical, legal, or academic justification for it, you could very easily see yourself getting into trouble in the class.

One thing that I would advise is a slight shift in your attitude. View your upcoming meeting as an opportunity to sit down and discuss the problem, rather than an opportunity to "confront" him, as you say. This may be just an unfortunate choice of words on your part, but it underscores the inherently confrontational nature of what you're going to be doing. And that attitude will come across in your words and your body language. Do everything you can to prepare yourself to the idea that the class may continue to go as it is, and that you're just trying to make the best of a bad situation. If you're relaxed about it, he may see that you are simply presenting some very real problems with the way the class is run, rather than attacking him personally.

And of course, if the class continues as it is currently, you're just going to have to deal with it - and please see that I'm not trying to lecture you here when I say this. But if you're being given abundant time to deal with the workload and then having deadlines solidified and sprung upon you at essentially the last minute, shift your priorities. Crank out the assignments the moment they're handed out - hell, if the lecturing is as bad as you say it is, sit at the back and do them in class. Use the forums, search for tutorials, and basically use the lecture period as your allotted PHP assignment time. If you're going to have to learn the material on your own anyway, doing the work in class will force you to focus your independent study during the off-hours to figure out what you actually need to learn to get through.

Talk to him and hope for the best, but it might come down to having to say to yourself "This class is going to suck ass, but I'm just going to do whatever I can to get through it"

Not sure if any of this is all that helpful. I hope it goes well for you; if it doesn't, I just hope you get through and it's over quickly.

-jjh
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#7 RodgerB  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 02:58 AM

I guess there are two kinds of teachers, the kind that's there for the money and the kind thats there for the job.

I however, do feel sorry that you have been put in this position and do hope you find a way to bring integrity back to the classroom, not for your or your teachers take, but everyone else that is getting taught. A teacher can't seriously expect a class to do a module/assignment on the spot, those things take time. :rolleyes:
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#8 maggie_noodles  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 03:00 AM

I was gonna say break it to him gently.
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#9 aceofspades686  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 03:06 AM

Thanks for the lengthy response, jjhaag.

You are right about the "confront" thing, I mainly used that here to further portray the idea of the situation and it was a poor choice of words on my part. I do view it more as a chance to discuss the problem with him and try to come to some sort of understanding as I said, he is a nice guy so I don't believe he'll get upset with me and he and I have talked before some so I don't believe he'll see it as a complete personal attack. The biggest problem I forsee in the long run is the entire class (myself included) will fail because of his assignment method.

The problem is that he doesn't always assign the things he expects us to do, and our book has usually 5 or 6 different hands-on projects and up to 10 case studies, as well as 3 different sets of review questions per chapter. In short, no matter how much prioritizing happens, there's no way we can get that many assignments done in the allotted amount of time and still keep up with any other classes. Ultimately, I think it boils down to me wanting to eventually become a teacher in CS and as such, its a fairly upsetting thing to me that someone who would become a teacher would go about things in this way. (I was searching for words on that last sentence for about 5 minutes, I'm still not sure if it will come across the way I mean it).

View PostRodgerB, on 15 Oct, 2007 - 05:58 AM, said:

I guess there are two kinds of teachers, the kind that's there for the money and the kind thats there for the job.

I however, do feel sorry that you have been put in this position and do hope you find a way to bring integrity back to the classroom, not for your or your teachers take, but everyone else that is getting taught. A teacher can't seriously expect a class to do a module/assignment on the spot, those things take time. :rolleyes:


My point as well. Also, for a few people, this is their first semester so they're struggling even more than the others (Almost to the point on giving up on programming altogether). I feel so bad for them :/

This post has been edited by aceofspades686: 15 October 2007 - 03:08 AM

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#10 1lacca  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 03:12 AM

I would say sit down with him, try to get a reasonable deadline, and prepare your assignments yourself. I think he would definitely support it, since it is better for him as well, if his students pass.

About my own experience with such things.
Once it was a lab, where the guy helped nothing, explained nothing and probably knew nothing. Nobody went in, and we studied at home, finally everythign was ok (the lectures were given by a very good prof, so actually it saved the whole thing)
The second was another lab, where the guy announced upfront, that he sees that thing for the first time too, so we should expect no miracles from him. This worked out fine, because the faculty provided a very good book, so we could learn there easily, and even though the entrance tests before the labs were hard, but most could prepare for and pass them.
The third was different, it was a common uproar against the lectures, because there were only meaningless slides, with meaningless material, and the tests were totally hm, meaningless (try to remember what is missing from a slide from a list, etc.) A petition was made, almost the whole semester signed it, but (rumour has it) that the guys who brought it to the prof were given a chance: they would pass with an A+ equivalent, if they destroy the papers - well, guess what happened...
No more horror stories, I'm glad they are over(I'll save some for later).
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#11 Louisda16th  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 03:23 AM

I always believe in peace with teachers. Our teacher in grade 12 cut marks bigtime just because, lets say, she was jealous that we knew more VB than her. Me and b2c were major victims :(. After that, I've never confronted any teacher.

This post has been edited by Louisda16th: 15 October 2007 - 03:26 AM

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#12 supersloth  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 10:47 AM

you lost me 'why he's teaching with a book'
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#13 sharpy  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 12:37 PM

Keep your head down and do the work yourself or with a few of your fellow students. Its the best way to learn

One of my course units was to program a robot arm. On the first day the teacher told us there's the robot and there's the manual. This was 16 years ago so nothing changes.

If you do complain and then some smart arse does the work it will make you look bad.
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#14 aceofspades686  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 05:44 PM

View Postsupersloth, on 15 Oct, 2007 - 01:47 PM, said:

you lost me 'why he's teaching with a book'

To me, it would make tons more sense to use free documentation and such available to teach PHP rather than a book that's from 2001.

View Postsharpy, on 15 Oct, 2007 - 03:37 PM, said:

Keep your head down and do the work yourself or with a few of your fellow students. Its the best way to learn

One of my course units was to program a robot arm. On the first day the teacher told us there's the robot and there's the manual. This was 16 years ago so nothing changes.

If you do complain and then some smart arse does the work it will make you look bad.

I wish it were as easy as that, but for starters, there's no way to do the work when you don't know what the work is. Also, I won't be the one to complain, the other students in the class will be complaining to the higher ups before much longer and I'm the one whose trying to come to a more reasonable solution.
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#15 skyhawk133  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad teacher, and my classmates are stuck

Posted 15 October 2007 - 05:51 PM

Just a quick story about my experience with teachers. I was in my second year at our local community college and had a "Intro to Scripting" class. It was an intro to ASP, Javascript, ColdFusion, and PHP... just hello world, a couple ifs, and loops. At the time, I programmed fluently in PHP and completed the PHP assignment using a different method than was taught. It was a more efficient method and I had written it on my own. The teacher did not like this and from that point out gave me an F on every assignment for "incorrect indentation", "not enough comments", etc. Even though I had followed his templates to a T. Near the end of that year, he became the dead of technologies and would be the one to approve my degree. He would not approve it. I fought with the college for 2 years until he left and a new dean was appointed. That dean approved my paperwork the next day and I had my degree in hand within a week.

Moral of the story. Don't piss off the instructor.
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