Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to School Blues ~ Grown-up Style

Why Shoot the Teacher?Image via WikipediaSo, after a wonderful week off full of doing nothing, unchecked facebook time, and a day-trip to see my girlfriend from high school that was mentally, emotionally, and gastronomically AWESOME, it was time to return to school this week.

Sunday I got online and posted my bio to both classes and downloaded the respective syllabuses (yes, it's more accepted as grammatically accurate than syllabi; I checked) and appendixes and reading chapters... etc. I was actually a little excited about going back to classes despite the loss of free time.  I was scheduled for a class in pathology and another in world religions.

Now, not to toot my own horn, but in order to provide  proof that I am not some fly-by-night student, I will tell you that I currently have a GPA of 3.96. I have not always liked my instructors, nor have I always thought that they were doing the best of jobs teaching the classes I have attended; however, being both a Jersey girl and my mother's child, I would simply roll my eyes and get through it.  Class is only nine weeks long... Fuhgeddaboutit.

So even though the pathology syllabus had the longest preamble of class rules and expectations I have ever seen, I thought, "He's precise".

Then I get to the course materials section for pathology and where most instructors post about four items.  One being the syllabus for the class, another being the appendix with all of the instructions and recommended timeline for the final project, another being a class calendar, and lastly, any words of advice and recommendation that he or she forgot to put into the syllabus.

Pathology instructor: Six...TEEN.  Not including the post from Academic Services about student workshops that is in absolutely every class' course materials section.
OK, that started to tip me off a little.

I made sure to read everything. Obviously the instructor is a detail freak, which probably bodes well in pathology, so note to self: read EVERYTHING this guy posts.

Then he misread one of my postings and left me a message telling me not to tell another student whether their posts were substantive (I was talking about my own post!) and then proceeded to give me unsubstantive on both of my participation answers.

Here's the thing... I could tell that they were revenge U's.

I had, because he MISREAD my posting, stepped all over his toes...with cleats (because he's a complete and total narcissist).  And I knew from that moment on, this guy was going to tank my grade because I had offended him, and he was unable to remain professional.

So I wrote him back to correct his mistaken judgment in the most polite and respectful way that I was able to along with asking him why my answers were deemed U's (cause I wasn't about to let that drop)...And then I called my academic advisor to find out about getting out of this and any future classes being taught by this instructor.

She asked me to give it a day or so.  Turns out that by answering him, I had fulfilled the attendance requirements for the week, so even if she dropped me immediately, I was still financially responsible for one week of this class. 

However, as long as I didn't post after Sunday, it was still within the week and I wouldn't owe any more money.

My academic advisor is awesome, so I promised to wait for his responses.  I got it last night.

After which, I proceeded to email my advisor... this is a small piece of that letter:
I copied and pasted below what I wrote back. It was literally as nice as I was capable of being, because what I really wanted to say was, "Listen, you narcissistic *bleep*, you have the longest pre-amble class rules section of a syllabus that I have ever seen. In addition, you posted (literally, I could not make this up!) SIXTEEN items in the course materials section (not including the Academic Affairs post about student workshops) that deal with everything from one suggesting we take the basic essays workshop, to one that specifically deals with what constitutes substantive posts. I have read them all and NO WHERE does any of it mention word count. So, is this just a requirement for students that do not bow down and kiss your hind-quarters?  You have one course materials posting on grammar and punctuation, and I have read at least four postings by other students with multiple glaring errors; but I come away with U's for not meeting an unposted word count? You JACK!"

Again, that's what I WANTED to write...  What I actually wrote was:

Hello *deleted name of instructor*,

This is the first time that I have heard anything about word count minimums for participation requirements.  From your exact posting in the class materials section:

Posts that do not count for credit:
1.   “I agree” or “Good idea..” or “You’re right...”, “ I understand” are not substantive posts. I do value those kinds of posts but these do not add to the classroom discussion. Supportive posts you make to your fellow classmates that add something substantial to the classroom discussion will receive credit.
2.   Repeating what another student has already written without adding
      something of value to it also is not considered substantive.
3.   Offering an opinion or experience on something unrelated to the goal of the learning objectives of the class is not substantive.
4.   Posts that are not in some way directly related to the objectives listed for that week or a prior week and/or the course readings may also not receive credit. 
As you can see, no where in there is a word count mentioned.  I have gone back and re-read the syllabus, but it is not mentioned there either.  Week one being a discussion week, I would expect word count to be listed in the lengthy pre-coursework instructions of the syllabus or in the first week instructions, but I was unable to find it in either place. So where would one find this Quality Checklist, instead of the version I have?

*end submitted post to instructor*

I promise you my tongue has been bitten in half and crazy-glued back on so I don't sound like John Merrick.  This was As Kind and As Polite as I was capable of; forgive me, I know it's not up to respect requirements.  I went back to my syllabus.  I went back to the course materials and RE-downloaded the syllabus in case it had changed. I went through the post specifically dealing with DQ requirements, and I know the spacing looks funky, but I SWEAR that I did not tamper with it, that was nothing more than copy and paste into the response post directly from his original post in the course materials section.

I would consider $1050 to drop this class (way more accurately, get rid of this instructor!) a bargain. 

Please remove me from this class.  And please, as long as I am a student in your care, please make sure that no future classes have this instructor.  I'd rather quit Phoenix entirely than work with him; yes, my instincts are that vehement about this issue.

*end email to advisor*

It is like I was hired by human resources to work directly under the boss while the boss was on vacation...

Then he comes back...

And it's Hitler. Registered & Protected
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1 comment:

The Retired One said...

big Syllabus=little penis.

What an a**h*le. You are correct, Aria, your first impression was exactly right..this guy has ISSUES.
I am so glad you can switch/drop this class and choose someone else for an instructor. Maybe if more people complain to their Advisors, the word will get out there about this guy. No one should have to put up with THAT.

Come to think of it, we all have had some "winners" in our college academia life...maybe that is the hazing that one must endure to get a degree, I don't know! But if enough people drop his class, the college should get it and lose this guy!!!