By Tommy Lor
Perhaps the best way to kill the excitement of a new semester is realizing that one of your professors is not quite what you were hoping for. In fact, he or she might be downright bad. With so many other things to manage, not to mention a class to pass, knowing what to do when you have a bad college professor can sometimes seem overwhelming.
The purpose of an educator is not only to teach their subject, but to create buy in, to capture the interest of their students while allowing them to grasp the information presented. Although it still is up to the student to preserve and retain the knowledge, if the professor can’t get their information across, they’re not doing their job well or properly. A professor’s incompetence to get what’s in their head into yours should not affect a student’s ability to perform in class or their motivation to attend.
A good professor, an instructor who explains new concepts in a clear and succinct way, can help you learn a subject quickly and provide you with the building blocks necessary for further study. But if your professor appears to be incompetent for example, failing to explain information clearly you and your academic performance suffers.
Not only are there bad professors that don’t teach well, there are bad professors who say offensive things in a classroom or who treat different kinds of students differently. A good class is a dynamic class, and a good professor engages with the students in a critical yet constructive manner.
Students are often exasperated by professors who waste their time with boring, rambling, irrelevant lectures. The problem is that tenured faculty members often just don’t care any longer. Sure, students can complain about them (such as at Ratemyprofessor.com) but that doesn’t accomplish anything. Professors that sit on their high horse will take no lip from students, therefore causing students afraid to ask questions in class without being made to look like a fool.
Professors who choose to not write things down, as they believe their tenure and experience warrant the lack of keeping detailed well-organized study plans. They are accompanied with an unclear lesson plan, produced along with their shopworn syllabus and no clear rubric for assignments. Coming to class and forgetting which lessons they have already taught delay the students’ education, all while rushing and pressuring them to finish the Student Learning Outcomes as the semester comes to a close.
So what can a student do, review your university’s policy on filing a formal complaint. Verify that your issue falls under the judicial process. For example, if you simply don’t agree with the professor’s teaching methods or feel that he/she is a tough grader, the college won’t likely follow up on the complaint.
Should the university implement a student evaluation form at the end of the semester for its faculty members or is this infeasible as ELAC is already short on teachers and classes. Will the new buildings open up more opportunities for this?