Why I hate my students

i like my students. and, trust me, mine are a lot less mature than yours. :wink:

(never mind that my students are all 4 and 5 years old…)

phouka writes

There are probably a great many things that she likes about being faculty, but teaching isn’t one of them. It is also possible to act nicey-nice on the outside and be a boiling cauldron of hate on the inside. A couple of students after my course was over asked me how I liked teaching and when I told them I didn’t they were quite suprised.

It’s the students that annoy the piss outta me:)

Don’t be sorry! I was jokning back!
I know you were ribbin’ me! I was just ribbin’ back!
Ribbin’s racin’ here in the Pit, hon, we like it hard and fast and the things people say to their friends are usually worse than the things they say to the buttheads.

So don’t worry about me. I only take up arms against the truly idiotic. You have impressed me as purdy durn smrt, I mean smart.

So keep up the good work, and try to be fair, mmmkay? If fair mean passing 3 out of 30 students, then so be it. I am witness to the “dumbing of America” as are all my fellows here, so you couldn’t have picked a better place to rant about stupid “kids these days”.

Have fun.



Well, I frankly think hearing “I was hungover” would be refreshing. I’m not teaching currently but my spouse is. He got the biggest sob story from a student two days before her final project was due. It involved boyfriend problems, sleep problems, a doctor’s note (not the original, just the transcription typed into the e-mail), and a P.S. about how she had to have an A or she’d lose her scholarship. I would have given ANYTHING for her to say “I’m a fuck up. I should have worked harder and I didn’t. I should’ve gone to the doctor earlier. This is entirely my fault, and I deserve to have the book thrown at me. Is there anything I can do to save my unworthy ass?” That’s the appeal of “I’m hungover.”

Where I went to school for my baccalaureate, plagiarism would get you called in front of a hearing board and possibly expelled. When I came to a huge prestigious research university for the graduate degrees, they had no honor code and that sort of thing was shrugged at. ARGH!!!

Not that you need my pollyanna advice, but remember they are not all like that. Try to focus on the good ones. The ones who aren’t running to you with any excuse. There is a quiet student out there whose mom is dying of cancer and who doesn’t know where the next month’s rent is coming from and who is spending hours on the assignments just trying to keep his or her head above water–and yet he or she never comes to you, and you’d never know, because s/he’s there every day paying attention.

Ooh, what a way to piss on a good rant. Sorry.

This is terribly long,sorry.

Let me begin by saying that I consider teaching one of the most important and yet least appreciated professions out there.I admire anyone who chooses such a tough career.
And I by no means intend to insult any teacher/proffessor who has posted here. I can appreciate that working with people is a frustrating job.While I’ve never taught, I can still see how you could come to feel as you do about students who want a free ride, or never show up, etc.
But I’d like to respectfully pose the question:
If you find it so unbearable, why do you do it?Really,I’m not being facetious, I would honestly like to know.If your chosen career makes you feel this bad, why not do something else?
Side note:I know it’s not as easy as that, but it is still possible

I have had great teachers, and I have had a few not-so-good teachers.Most were good folks who got frustrated like everybody else but still truly loved teaching and enjoyed the majority of their students.

But I have also had one horrible, miserable excuse for a teacher whom I would not piss on if he were on fire.I had recently left my worthless, alcoholic husband and moved myself and two children home to live with my mother.I was working full time, going through a divorce and trying to make something of myself,so I started prerequisite classes at our community college(sorry, but some of us can’t afford a ‘real’ university).
This was the first I’d been in a classroom in 12 years.I went to every class, I took notes.I made no excuses.I did my work.
This man did everything in his power to make life difficult on those of us unfortunate enough to attend Fundamentals of Algebra.He considered it ‘thinning the herd’.He assigned from 75 to 150 questions for homework three times a week.Fine.But he only graded TEN problems on your work, and made sure that any incorrect answers were part of the ten.So if I do 100 problems and get 10 wrong, I should get a 90, right?WRONG!I get a fat, whopping ZERO!
Goddammit, I worked hard to get 90% of those problems right!I cried over the poor grades I was getting, and the huge amount of effort I was putting in.And I cried when faced with the apathy, smugness even, that this man showed when I came to him for help.When I asked for help,I was treated as if I had just been picking my butt during class.To this man if you didn’t get it the first time, you were simply too stupid to bother with.This man’s disgust toward his students was glaringly obvious.
After two months of this(and a few other problems with this prof.),I dropped my other two classes and just gave up trying.Through elementary and high school, I had been an A/B student.Now I wasn’t even smart enough to pass a frigging ‘Fundamentals’ class?I was crushed.
Now I know you’ll say I should have just “tried harder”.Well, I’ll tell you what.I wont try to tell you how to teach until I’ve been there, and you don’t tell me what I should have done until you are a** single mother, dealing with a nasty divorce, an ex-husband whose purpose in life is to make sure you are upset constantly, a full time job and trying to go back to school**.Add to that an egotistical professor whose own personal power trip takes precedence over any sort of fair teaching practices and you’ll understand.

I’m not implying that you, bio-brat, are like this.I don’t know you and for all I know you may just be having a really crappy day and simply needed to vent.But perhaps you might want to consider the effect your frustration may have on your students.If you really feel that bad about it, why bother?

I’m really sorry if this sounds like I’m attacking anyone, I’m not.I’ve just been left very bitter by a professor who shouldn’t have been teaching if he ‘hated’ his students.

Oh, and it was a really good first rant. :wink:
Welcome to the Dope!

three bunny mama:
In every profession, there will be those who are good at what they do, and those who aren’t. Sadly, this includes teaching. I’ve had my share of poor teachers (I got my ‘worst teacher ever’ while going to UC Berkeley!), and my share of excellent ones. The best ones made no excuses and pulled no punches. And they did not play favorites.

bio-brat’s rant was not directed at students such as yourself (at least, that’s how I read it). It was directed at those who view college as more of a giant party than an opportunity to better themselves, and, sadly, this is the attitude that many college students have. And I have no doubt that that sort of thinking will piss off any teacher worth her salt!

Students who wish to learn are a delight to teach. Those who do not are a waste.

to three bunny mamma,

Most people that I know who pursue PhD’s are there because they want to research. This is quite often research that you cannot do anywhere else but at a university. Unfortunately, most universities will not pay you to do this solely and you are required to teach also. Teaching is like an extra part-time or even full-time job heaped on to your research job to pay the bills. I only taught one course, but it was very stressful when some of my calculations weren’t going well, but I couldn’t devote the time needed to them because I had to prepare a lecture or tutor students.

This is not to say that most faculty hate students or teaching (well, I did, but that was mainly because I couldn’t get used to being in front of a crowd). But you can sometimes get overwhelmed with it in addition to your other work especially with difficult students. Thus some venting is required.

Doing something else does not often seem viable after so many years in school and really enjoying the research aspect.

btw, I have done that trick of only marking a few of the questions on the assignments although I try to be fair about it. I had to because I didn’t have enough TA’s so that it would have taken me an extra 20hrs of unpaid work to mark them all, but I wanted them to see all the concepts.

also, Sorry about that ignorant jerk of a professor. Hope he doesn’t turn you off of algebra, it rocks! My favourite student from last year was a fella who came back to school after ten years. He had a real tough time but sure worked hard with the time he had available and you had to respect that, I was happy to help him. Any decent professor should be aware that there are people with vastly different backgrounds and circumstances attending.

Oh, with regards to plagerizers/cheaters…my younger older brother went to VMI…I think what they do to such is a pretty good start.

Matt, please watch it when you use my name for others.

::tapping foot petulantly::

Next time, it’s lightning for you!


ALL of my students are not bad. That said, there are a fair number of students (usually from wealthy families), that think that I OWE them a good grade. It’s not even so bad in this class because it’s not a general requirement. You should see what THOSE professors have to go through!

It’s not even the students or the job itself that ticks me off the attitude that students are consumers and we are producers. The way I see it, each student pays over $20.00 a lecture, you’d think that at least they’d show up for class!!

Anyone who is a college grad should be concerned about this trend of grade inflation. The reason I got my Ph.D. is not because I wanted to do research in a University but didn’t want to teach, it’s partially because a BS is now pretty much equivalent to a HS diploma.

Haven’t you met folks with degrees where you though WHAT THE FUCK?!?! This guy’s an idiot!! Well that guy is the one I deal with all day. It’s not the bright kids that bother me, it’s THAT guy!!

The reason I still do it (I’ve only been at it for two years) is because (I hate to admit it) I mostly like the students, and the job, and I’m good at it. Some of my kids will someday go on to make a real difference. They will be Drs. and researchers, and teachers. I think that’s cool.

At least I still care enough to rant! Most of the older profs just give in because they’re sick and tired of the entire situation.

Knock, knock.

“Hello, Prof bio-brat? Hi, I’m in your 3PM class. You might not have noticed me much. Our frat is rushing and the meetings are right after your class, and I have to prepare for them. But anyway, I just noticed finals are next week and I need a little help on chapter 1 here.”

:: Flexing and muscle-stomping my way into your tiny office. Smiling to show off my pearly whites whilst leaning forward to make sure my massive, hairy chest is well framed by the gold chains and unbuttoned shirt ::

“Say babe, how can you get anything done in this stuffy old office? You know, there’s a nice Italian place downtown, what say you and I chat about this over dinner? Maybe we could catch a movie. There’s that new Jackie Chan show, or what the heck we can catch a chick flick if it’ll put you in the mood. Then later you could make me study hard, really put me through my paces. I’d do most anything to get a better grade in your class. I’m sure we could work out something, say on a sliding scale.”

:: Leaning forward more to be sure the scent of my minty fresh breath and cologne is noticed, flexing massive arm to casually lean on your desk, turning my head just right so the afternoon sun twinkles in my emerald green eyes, stretching out leg to highlight pair of tube sox down my pants, smirking expectantly ::

TA speaking here. At the school I’m going to right now there is a problem with funding so we have no mandatory discussion sections, so I am a glorified grader that gives “optional discussion” sections-- the very few students who don’t need the reinforcement are the ones who come, and the reluctant regular students who come sit there very sullen (unless they are doign the crossword puzzle, which seems to cheer them up), unaware that I’m not getting paid for this. As a TA you are in a sort of “priest position”, between man and God, and taking a lot of the shit (as God can not be personally reached in a class of 250 students).
Right now it is summer, and as God is in Mexico, disgruntled students left on campus keep contacting the clergy in order to try to get me to change their grade (which I can’t do) because I’m young/female/they think I’m a soft touch? One student, whose final exam was a low D and which I remember vividly as in a fill-in-the-blank section he put in the same exact VERY very wrong (to the point of humorous) answers as another guy, wants to meet soon. These bad papers are much harder to evaluate than the good ones, and you keep thinking to youself, “I’m taking more time to grade this than they spent studying for it”. So I told him to meet with me Monday (July 3d) at 9 in the morning to see how much he means it, or if he figures it is an easy way to a higher grade (if he hassles 5 teachers and 1 caves in that’s better than breaking even).
No, I do not hate teaching, and I’m sure bio-brat doesn’t either, but it is not the land of milk and honey that some think it is. Teaching college should be about sharing knowledge, not running a day-care center for 19 year olds. The few students who really do appreciate what you are sharing with them are what makes it worth it. When you are explaining something complex and a student who had never stood out before suddenly sits up straight, jaw open, and you know that suddenly they understand it completely and they are proud of themselves for learning- that makes it all worth it. A student that tells you that they changed majors because you made the subject so interesting, or one telling you that they now appreciate a subject they had never cared for or understood, or one that clearly got deeply into the topic of a paper they wrote, when one admits that they used to totally hate Picasso, et al, but now they sort of understand it better and explained it to their mom and dad at the museum-- these are all great and make you prous and happy. But the students who figure that they paid their tuition, bought their B+'s, and are annoyed because they thought art history was supposed to be an easy arts-and-sciences core requirement course and were wrong- this is what is most noticable day to day- 200 out of 250 students putting away their newspapers 5 minutes early, picking up their backpacks noisily and stomping out (after noisily arriving 10 minutes late because of hangover or Rush Week activities)-- this is what you walk home thinking about most of the time. This is why senior tenured professors avoid the introductory courses like leprosy.

Pish-posh! I give the OP rant a 90% for humor. But I hold back 10% because it detroys my belief that my young female friend wanted to date a pubescent moron like I was in college.

speakeasy said:

If you walked into MY office that way, the only thing sliding would be you… on your head as you exited through the door, since hair gel is marvelous for cutting down the coefficient of friction. :smiley:

I can empathize with bio-brat’s wanting to vent, and I think M.K.'s description of the highs and lows is spot-on. Someone mentioned earlier that college students have more choice over their classes - that’s true, but only to a point when it comes to fulfilling core curriculum requirements. There are plenty of students who waste no time in letting you know (verbally or through body language) that they’d just about prefer to have bamboo shoots stuck under their fingernails than sit through your class. I don’t care how dedicated a teacher is - students like that will get you down, every time. The hard part is not letting your frustration with those nimrods burn you out on the good students.

I was a TA for two semesters and then found alternate sources of funding for my education. I hate and loathe teaching. Part of that is just that it’s not for me; my temperament and interests are not necessarily well-suited to being a professor. The other part, however, was the circumstances under which I was a TA.

I had the normal mix of students: a great many who were not interested in the subject matter and tended to sleep or read the paper during discussion sections, some few who were interested and participated, and many who just didn’t come to class. I had my share of plagiarizers, people who strung together information from a bunch of websites and called it a paper, and people who claimed that I must have lost all of their papers and exams, because they insisted they’d done them, even though I had no record of that.

My professor had apparently had the lowest average grades of anyone in the dept. the year before, and so in order to boost that average, he told me I could not give anyone a grade lower than a C. On exams with short IDs, I was supposed to give half credit if the student managed to copy down the words from the exam. For instance, if they were to identify the Fugitive Slave Act, if they wrote down “Fugitive Slave Act” but nothing else, they were supposed to get 5 out of 10 points.

Some of my students tried really hard, but were not able to write a coherent paragraph of complete sentences. I appreciated their interest and effort, but I don’t know that they were well served by receiving a B once my professor adjusted their grades.

Note for anyone who thinks Ph.D.=wants to research. I’ve taught at the university level for 10 years. I have 2 Master’s degrees, no Ph.D. I would like to get one, not to do research, but to be able to apply for jobs. MANY MANY jobs in colleges require the freakin’ Ph.D. just to be considered!

Anyway, bio-brat, if you really did hate it most of the time, I would say LEAVE the job. Siknce it seems like a part-time things, here’s a few things that may help:

Give them a huge syllabus that covers all of the lame things they can’t do. Then, make that their first test. I use it sometimes as a gate-keeper; fail the test on policies, you’re done. I reserve the right to flunk them for one absence without prior notice. I use the analogy of it being like not calling in sick for work. Single parents get a little extra slack on deadlines, otherwise, I generally try to give no extensions.

If they’re hitting on you much, you might point out that that is legally sexual harassment–since they’;re families have more money than you, you would stand to be the gainer.

FLUNK FLUNK FLUNK! You say that you’re already doing that–keep at it! If people who don’t want to work are scared of taking your class, you’ll only have the good students left.

P.S. Anyone who really does hate teaching should QUIT now! You are potentially doing incredible damage to people!


Here’s an example from personal experience that was a very refreshing.

I was teaching anatomy/physiology for would-be nursing majors at a community college (night class). Being a military town, many of the students were active duty.

Anyway, this one sergeant was taking my class. During the first exam, he got up, threw it on my desk, and slammed the door on the way out.

After the next class period, he came up to me and apologized. Said his behavior was inexusable, and that he usually held himself to a higher standard. He explained why he was so frustrated, because he had put in a lot of time studying and felt discouraged because he knew he was going to fail the exam.

I asked him if he felt the exam was unfair, or merely hard. I got him to see the importance of knowing A/P in excrutiating detail. It’s not good enough for nurses to “get the gist” of something this important. I asked him what standards he expected when training recruits. I also asked him when was the best time to find out someone just doesn’t have what it takes for a particular program. Training, or during battle? In the classroom, or when treating a coding patient?

He not only saw my point but agreed. I then showed him the best way to study and spent a long time going over what he missed on the exam and how to understand it better. I also told him that if I saw an steady improvement over the course of the semester, I would ‘forget’ about his first failed effort.

He ended up with a “B.” He came up to me after the semester and told me that he appreciated my approach and that he would always remember how I taught him anatomy/physiology instead of letting him slide through the class with a tenuous grasp of the material. I had students on several occasions tell me that they loved my class even when they had no interest in the subject coming into it. Some even reconsidered an academic focus because of a class I taught.

Unfortunatley, these students are in the minority. Many don’t see the point of being challenged; they just want the grade. Whine, whine, whine. It’s embarrassing to have college-age students bitch and moan so much. “In high school, we only had multiple choice tests and true/false. We never had to actually answer questions ourselves!” Well, boo hoo. Or, “These multiple choice questions are tricky!” Yeah, like I’m going to make the answer so obvious. You better study so that you can discern shades of meaning instead of reading the chapter once before going out to the clubs.

And the “Can’t you give me extra credit?” What? I’m supposed to give you an extra assignment to make up for the first assignment that you blew off? I’m not going to reward you for your failure. Apply yourself the first time and you won’t need extra things to do.

These, I’m sure, are the type of students referred to in the OP. Classes are filled with them.