Blog Archives

A warning to college profs from a high school teacher (not me)

A retired teacher from Maryland blogs an open letter to university professors about the effects of No Child Left Behind.

If Ontario ever heads this direction, I’ll be racing to elevate my position to convince the powers that be otherwise.


An adult among undergrads

In the short years since I’ve graduated from university, either I’ve forgotten a *lot* about what it’s like to be an undergrad, or this generation of students is really different.


Today I was in our lab section.  I brought the lab that’s due today, and started working on the next one (due next week).  I quickly realized, by looking around, that most students in the class hadn’t finished the one due today.  Of course, right?  They had a few hours before it was due.  But some weren’t even close to finishing.  Okay, so they’re procrastinators.  I’m still like that for many things myself.

The worst part of all might be how hopeless they are with the lab directions.  The directions were written for the previous version of the software, and some minor changes had been made since then.  But so many students could not, or would not, figure out how to proceed.  If something didn’t work out exactly like the directions said, they would just stop, put up their hand, and wait for the TA.  But there’s one TA, and forty students doing this.  So they wait 10 minutes each time.

I can’t wait for next week, so I can see how long it takes them to finish the lab that I completed in about an hour, after asking only one question (to a fellow classmate who was also on lab #2).


In lecture, it’s just as bad.  They ask the professor questions about the labs that they should either solve themselves, or at the least go to his office hour, instead of taking time away from actually learning the theory.  It’s also painful to hear the professor answer a question for the sixth time.


Am I wrong in thinking that while we had rude or helpless idiots when I was in school, they were either quieter or fewer in number?

How I feel right now:  Old, because of this perceived difference.  Mature, because I am much more capable than most of my classmates.  Stress-free, because clearly this class is not going to cause me any grief.  And sad, because of the number of students who are struggling in what a lot of them have called a “bird course”.