Professor's guide for how to piss off students

  1. Demand that students photocopy everything that they have to read. But! Instead of making sure that they can read whatever copious amounts of postmodernist theory they’rebeing dished this week, scribble all over your copy, then photocopy it so poorly that words, lines, even pages are missing.

  2. When we all get to class after struggling through said poorly-copied dreck, precis in hand, ignore all students’ attempts at outlining said precis/article in favor of presenting your own viewpoint. If you really want to get them, listen for a couple sentences then cut them off.

  3. Ask difficult, vague questions that clearly have specific answers that you desire. While they shuffle around looking for a supporting passage for whatever wild guess they have to pull out of their asses, sigh loudly and scold them for not reading the texts. It drives them wild!

  4. Speaking of driving em wild, suddenly change the syllabus weeks or even months into the class.

  5. One week, tell them that their precis should be analytical and not summations of the readings; next week tell them that their precis don’t relate enough to the readings.

  6. Condescend as much as possible. What, the students didn’t supply your exact desired meaning for “paradigm”? Time to write it on the board along with lots of other big words they don’t know, like “connoisseurship” and “aesthetics”!

  7. Consider postmodernism a viable method.

This one is easily the worst. A syllabus handed out at the beginning of the semester is a binding contract for that entire semester, and a professor cannot change their mind midway through and edit it in any way. I would speak to the chair of the department the professor teaches in about something like this.

You’re taking a philosophy class, aren’t you.

Naw, art history. It’s almost worse.

My professor said she has 3 rules that she ask everyone abide by:

  1. Show up on time.

  2. Turn off your cell phone.

  3. Don’t eat. “Noises are my OCD and it will drive me nuts.”

The first two are obvious and completely understandable. Now, if this class were in the middle of the afternoon, when people might only be snacking, I could understand the third one. However this is a 7:30pm class. That’s dinner time. Everyone in it has just sat through a class from 5:30-7:20. Many of the students work full time and came right from work. The odds are good that most of them haven’t had time to get food or eat. With only a ten minute break in between, it’s not enough time to go pick up food. Sure it’s enough time to buy food and bring it back to the room, but then not to eat it. She said “you can go eat in the hall, I don’t mind.” Well with only 10 minutes that means everyone’s going to be late, and that’s rule #1. You could see people giving each other sideways glances as if to say “oh that’s just great.”

I can appreciate noises being distracting but it’s not like everyone’s chewing and spitting and smacking. At worst there would be crinkling for 30 seconds while people open containers.

I know, it’s kind of lame, but my day leading up to classes doesn’t allow for me to stop and eat and it just pissed me off.

I shied away from art history. Instead, I’m taking performance music…go Test Flight and Garage Band!

cough Anyways…

However, for my humanities, I decided to sign up for English 244 (Studies in Fiction: The Novel). I figured, okay, look at the novel as an art form, maybe read one or two from a few different genres…

Well, that’ll teach me to not check before signing up for a class.

Turns out, I get some spacey headed prof who gushes on and on about how these 5 dusty old novels are absolute wonders, and how she sees such things in them…

…when a reading realizes that she’s got it pretty much backwards, to the point where the critical essays in the Norton Editions she’s assigned as the texts even disagree with her viewpoint.

Like… in Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, she went off on a two class session tangent about the “beauty of the nature scenes” and how “different characters interacted in the gardens” and for the most part, completely ignored that the novel is about the conflict of ideas between generations in regards to Tsarist Russia in the Victorian Era, and how the entire plot runs off of the conversations between the characters and how their views get expressed.

I mean, the imagery is nice and all, and Turgenev had his way with flowery words, but the meat of the story that makes it more than just a dusty old novel is how the characters (and their ideas/ideals) interact.

The exam is Wednesday, and this prof seems like the time that if you don’t agree with her viewpoint, she’ll fail ya.


Anyways, that was a long rant. But yeah. Fuck profs who think the course is there to be tailored to their very whims instead of actually teaching something.

I’m with Beergeek. It’s the teacher’s prerogative to alter the syllabus as the course progresses. Unless your professor has drastically changed something, like eliminate the reading from an expensive text or bumped a major test back on short notice, this is a silly gripe.

I’m with you on poorly copied texts, though. I had several instructors who, rather than ask to purchase texts, had us download them and print them ourselves. While it’s cheaper to pay two cents a page in the library than buy a book, the results of printing can vary depending on the machine and the quality of the source material. I didn’t have enough paper or ink on hand at any one time to print off 200 page texts, so I had to use the library. This led to a lot of pages getting mixed with other people’s stuff at the printers, so instead of having my text for The Sotweed Factor I had some business student’s homework. Absolute pain in the ass.

I feel it incumbent upon me, as this is the pit, to deride you for taking an art history class in the first place. What the fuck were you thinking?

Hoho. I think I know who you’re taking.

Did you have the female Hall too? And is she gonna fail me if I base my essay on the fact that she’s so full of crap the whites of her eyes are turning brown? :stuck_out_tongue:

Fortunately, I learned by example. Rather unfortunate for my husband, though.
My condolences.

I actually like art history, mostly because I like art. Most of the stuff I’ve had to read so far hasn’t been all that wanky. It’s just the idiot teacher who apparently doesn’t know how to teach a 200 level class.

She talks a lot about how she went to Italy. And her husband. A lot.

Oh, and I forgot to mention: in a class with four students, I’m the only one who talks. Guess who everyone looks at now when the teacher asks a stupid question? :smack:

That is also my biggest pet peeve. Smacking, chomping, slurping- it all drives me nuts. All of my professors allow students to eat in class and it literally makes me get a head ache and start twitching. I cannot stand people making gross eating noises.

Anywho, from my experience, it isnt just a quick opening noise. Someone WILL bring chips and chomp chomp chomp. Someone WILL bring in a nice, tall soda and slurp slurp slurp. Someone WILL eat some candy and smack smack smack.

Drives me crazy, I tells ya.

There are some days I would die if I wasn’t able to eat/drink in class… like Tuesdays, where I have a solid block of classes from 8am until 9:50pm. with no more than a 15 minute break anywhere in there.

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Kidding aside, you got stuck with a below-average teacher. Been there, and it’s one of those situations where you just kind of adapt to it and keep your head down.
Persistently butting heads with the prof is generally a bad idea, particularly when said prof thinks he/she knows more than God about his/her chosen subject.
Unless your GPA isn’t totally important to you, in which case kudos and godspeed. Have a look, son. (or daughter… wtfever…)

Our Ethics professor announced two weeks before our Final exams that “she’d not actually taught us anything that would be on the exam”.

We were told to just go in and “have a crack, see how you get on” and they’d sort out some marks based on attendence and participation in class, plus a few non-assessed essays.

I know a few people for whom this meant a 2:1 rather than a First come the end of the year - not impressive!

Think of this as a learning opportunity for any future employment situations with a Pointy Headed Boss. Keep your head low, produce about what they want to see from you, or find cows that will produce it for you. You can make it out of there with most of your skin and pride intact and, if it doesn’t work out, you get a low grade as opposed to spending three months of your life without income or health insurance.

Sorry, but i disagree.

If the change in the syllabus involves no extra expense and no great inconvenience for the student, then suck it up. I’ve been known to do things like change the readings for some weeks during the course of the semester in order to better suit the students’ level of knowledge, to fit better with their interests, or to introduce concepts that seemed important. And i’ve also changed the types of written assignments if that seemed like the right thing to do. In each case, i made sure that the changes i made involved no extra expense or inconvenience for the students; in fact, changes were generally made in response to student feedback.

BTW, postmodernism is a “method”?

Beergeek’s comment came off as sarcastic to me.