Column – Lose ego, respect classroom

March 10, 2010 — 1 Comment

Originally published in The Daily Toreador.

Many students appear to have the idea that because they’re paying for a class, they have the right to try to shape it as they see fit, regardless of what the professor says. I’ve noticed a lot of freshmen with this mentality, but it would be wrong to lump all newcomers together &- students from all classifications have this problem.

It’s a flawed way of thinking. Just because you pay to rent a house doesn’t mean you can knock out all the walls and turn it into a small parking garage. That right isn’t given to you in the terms of the contract you signed when you started renting.

Similarly, as soon as you are handed that syllabus during the first week of class, you’re entering into a contract with the professor, and you need to respect it.

I’ve had the misfortune this semester to be in a class that’s filled to the brim with people who are testing the limits of the professor and TA. It’s a basic class with a review session requirement, and I’m sorry to say the reason I’m in there is because I suck at the subject in question. It is far from my forte, and as such I was forced into a class that teaches the most basic of the basics.

Thing is, almost all my fellow classmates are in the same boat as me &- we really don’t know what’s going on. If they were good at the subject, they wouldn’t be in that class with me. But despite this, many of them think they’re too good for the class, and act accordingly.

Early into the semester, our normal professor was out sick, and our TA was forced to teach the class. Now, I’ll admit, this guy was far from the best at teaching us the subject, but he was trying, and he deserved our respect as the acting professor.

At least three quarters of the class walked out. They just stood up and left in a mass exodus.

The next class day, we had a substitute professor instead. Now, this guy knew what he was doing. I might even argue he was better than our normal professor. Yet again, people decided they didn’t have to respect the rules of the classroom and decided to leave. When the substitute got on their case about this (he even wrote one woman’s name on the blackboard), the rebels complained, furious a mere substitute would dare try to tell them how to behave in their class.

If this was the whole story, it might not be a huge deal. Sure, the disrespect some of these students have for people in authority made my blood boil, but it didn’t really affect me, and thus wasn’t really my business.

During quizzes, some of these students have the audacity to complain they were never taught the material covered on the quiz and ignore the simple fact that the material was taught. They just don’t remember learning it because they walked out of the lecture.

One guy flat out refused to take a quiz. He turned in a blank sheet of paper just because he did not believe that he had been taught how to answer one of the questions (by the way, he had. I was there). Rather than trying his best, he decided to storm out and make a statement.

Half the class cheered as he left. I said nothing, but shook my head at the audacity and idiocy of those who were celebrating. Is that truly what our society really values here at Tech? “Sticking it to the man” by refusing to do your work?

For no less than three weeks, fellow students sitting next to me kept asking extremely simple questions that they would know the answers to if they would just come to class.

One student in particular asked the same question every Thursday for a month. The information just never sank into his brain.

At that point, their behavior wasn’t just affecting themselves or the professors &- it was annoying the crap out of me.

I can understand if you’re not fond of certain professors or their teaching styles. That’s perfectly fine. But you usually can tell if that’s going to be the case within the first week or two. You have plenty of time to drop the class, even receiving a full refund if you’re quick enough to do so.

Yes, the professors on this campus are here to serve you, but not to be your slaves. You do not have the right to complain about required attendance or the lack of flexibility of due dates. Your professors have the right to teach as they see fit, whether you like it or not. If enough people don’t like it, that will be reflected in the semester-end evaluations and something will be done, but for goodness sake, people, be reasonable about stuff.

If you don’t like the way a class is being run, drop it. If you decide to stick it out, then be respectful, come to class, pay attention and remember your place. You’re not the one in charge in that classroom, no matter what your ego tells you.

Britton Peele


Freelance video game critic for sites like GameSpot and GamesRadar. Amateur fantasy author.

One response to Column – Lose ego, respect classroom

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