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Thread: What to do about an impossible teacher...

  1. #1 What to do about an impossible teacher... 
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    My microbiology class was going to be my favorite class. I was going to learn new and interesting things and bump up my GPA by taking a subject that I thought would be an easy A or B. Not so. My teacher is one of the only teachers that you ever hear absolute horror stories about at my college. Granted, some teachers are naturally better than others, but this woman will fail students who normally make straight A's and has told me that as a result of taking her class someone had to be taken to the hospital (panic attack, stroke..who knows?). She is a harsh grader and the test questions that are multiple choice are often difficult to decipher. I already suffer from anxiety disorder and this class makes me feel ill sometimes. I recieved a 66 on my first test and was devestated. She literally expects every student to memorize 20 pages of lecture notes verbatim and in additon to be able to intrinsically know how to answer her sometimes vague essay questions. I will memorize every single word of her notes yet I feel that even if I know it all by heart she'll look for ways to take away points. What should I do if I feel she's being unfair? I'm not going to accept anything less than a C in her class...it's so frustrating because I know the material..hell..I read additional information on my own and know more than what she asks us to read...


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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Adapt or die. Choice is yours. 8)


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    How can I adapt to an inhospitible environment? I'd have to be a thermophile to be able to adapt to her hell.
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    how are the other students handling the situation?
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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    How can I adapt to an inhospitible environment? I'd have to be a thermophile to be able to adapt to her hell.
    I like that. I have to give you credit for the final line.

    As for adapting, that's really up to you. You've got to figure out what it is she wants. What are the things she looks for? What does she deem important? How does she need information presented? Then, focus on that. When studying, don't so much prepare for the content or understanding, prepare for the grading and a presentation you learn the teacher requires.

    I've been out of school for a while, but I had bad teachers. It does suck, and all you can do is suck it up and deal... grow a spine... cowboy up and do what you've gotta do to survive and succeed. The trick is figuring out what that is (which is what makes iceaura's post so relevant).


    As an aside, I've had some really awful managers, too. However, I also have bills to pay, so it's not like I could just "drop their class." I figured out a way to adapt, and to make it work until the situation changed, but I had to adapt in the meantime. It' really not so different from your current situation. Just something for you to consider. Good luck with it all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    how are the other students handling the situation?
    Several dropped. Others are upset but not as upset as I am. Then again, most of them aren't Bio majors...I think that many of them assume that the first test was a fluke and that the rest of the semester will be ok. I need to learn how to calm the f down..lol
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Well I'm gonna take the practical approach. If it's within the drop date, and you absolutely think you can't mesh with the prof, it might be a good idea to switch out. However, it isn't likely this far into a semester that that is a feasible option, plus if you have to do the class you might as well stick it out. Is their a teaching assistant for the class? Usually, the TAs have gone through the class, or assisted in previous years and can give you some guidance as to what kind of stuff you should focus on. You always are going to have bad profs who are just ball busters though.

    In my sophomore year I had to take bacterial genetics and physiology and the first midterm the class average was 44, this prof didn't even have the gentleness to provide multiple choice. He even deducted grades for poor grammar and spelling. All essay and short answer questions on the most obscure aspects he mentioned once for 5 minutes. I also wouldn't take the profs posturing at the beginning of a semester too seriously, sometimes this is a tactic to just scare away some students to lower their workload.

    Unfortunately, it is just part of the university experience. You'll have excellent profs sometimes, mediocre ones most of the time, and terrible ones occasionally.

    The really mean ones always look so unassuming http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/microi...ton_full.shtml

    Edit: I'll add though that sometimes these are the professors that bring out the best in students.
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  9. #8 Re: What to do about an impossible teacher... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    What should I do if I feel she's being unfair?
    At my University we would be given a form at the completion of a course, which allowed students to make comments on what they liked, and disliked about the course content, teachers, testing etc. This sorted out any problems.

    What about going to see the Head of Department?
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Well I'm gonna take the practical approach. If it's within the drop date, and you absolutely think you can't mesh with the prof, it might be a good idea to switch out. However, it isn't likely this far into a semester that that is a feasible option, plus if you have to do the class you might as well stick it out. Is their a teaching assistant for the class? Usually, the TAs have gone through the class, or assisted in previous years and can give you some guidance as to what kind of stuff you should focus on. You always are going to have bad profs who are just ball busters though.

    In my sophomore year I had to take bacterial genetics and physiology and the first midterm the class average was 44, this prof didn't even have the gentleness to provide multiple choice. He even deducted grades for poor grammar and spelling. All essay and short answer questions on the most obscure aspects he mentioned once for 5 minutes. I also wouldn't take the profs posturing at the beginning of a semester too seriously, sometimes this is a tactic to just scare away some students to lower their workload.

    Unfortunately, it is just part of the university experience. You'll have excellent profs sometimes, mediocre ones most of the time, and terrible ones occasionally.

    The really mean ones always look so unassuming http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/microi...ton_full.shtml

    Edit: I'll add though that sometimes these are the professors that bring out the best in students.
    I'll agree that these teachers can sometimes bring out the best in a person. Yet I'm already a hard worker and devoted student...I study daily and nightly and read on my own for fun in addition to working 30 hours a week. What I need is someone to occassionally say "hey, good work..I see some potential in you" or some vaguely motivational bullshit akin to it. I can't drop the class because I would lose my financial aid. What I should do from now on though is visit ratemyprofessors.com before signing up for classes.
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  11. #10 Re: What to do about an impossible teacher... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geo
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    What should I do if I feel she's being unfair?
    At my University we would be given a form at the completion of a course, which allowed students to make comments on what they liked, and disliked about the course content, teachers, testing etc. This sorted out any problems.

    What about going to see the Head of Department?
    People have been filling those out for years unsuccessfully.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    How can I adapt to an inhospitible environment? I'd have to be a thermophile to be able to adapt to her hell.
    This make me happy.
    Nothing is certain, but uncertainty.
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  13. #12 Re: What to do about an impossible teacher... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    She is a harsh grader and the test questions that are multiple choice are often difficult to decipher. I already suffer from anxiety disorder and this class makes me feel ill sometimes. I recieved a 66 on my first test and was devestated.
    She literally expects every student to memorize 20 pages of lecture notes verbatim and in additon to be able to intrinsically know how to answer her sometimes vague essay questions.
    Usually, when faced with a vague question, it's best to write down what you are assuming the professor is trying to say, then write your answers. Be like: "if you mean what I think you mean: then here's my answer." It's also usually allowed to pose questions to a professor about what they mean by a question during a test. Just go up to them and ask them for clarification.

    I agree, though, that it is total bull$hit to have to decipher a question, because that isn't testing your knowledge of the subject matter. It's testing your basic logic skills and knowledge of a single person's psychology (your teacher), both of which fall outside the scope of the class. It's frustrating if a teacher won't stay inside the scope of their subject. (And very unprofessional of them.)

    I will memorize every single word of her notes yet I feel that even if I know it all by heart she'll look for ways to take away points. What should I do if I feel she's being unfair? I'm not going to accept anything less than a C in her class...it's so frustrating because I know the material..hell..I read additional information on my own and know more than what she asks us to read...
    If she's marking down answers that are technically accurate, that's a matter of professional integrity. It's her duty to teach you the subject, and if she misrepresents a correct answer as being false, that is mis-teaching you. If she ever grades you on the basis of whether you gave an answer she likes instead of an answer that would be acceptable to any ordinary professional in the field, then you might want to consider reporting her to someone who can bring her under review for it.

    My advice: take the test questions to someone who really knows the subject, or to another professor and see if they can explain to you why you were wrong. You probably were, but if you weren't, then just get agreement from enough independent, credible, reviewers, and you've got grounds to make a formal complaint.

    It really really urks me when a professor tries to personalize the subject matter too much, because then I'm learning about a person instead of a thing. Knowing about that person probably isn't going to get me my first job out of college. There's no reason I should have to bother myself to even know my professor's name if I don't want to, so long as I'm learning the subject matter they've been hired to teach me.
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  14. #13 Re: What to do about an impossible teacher... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    My microbiology class was going to be my favorite class. I was going to learn new and interesting things and bump up my GPA by taking a subject that I thought would be an easy A or B. Not so. My teacher is one of the only teachers that you ever hear absolute horror stories about at my college. Granted, some teachers are naturally better than others, but this woman will fail students who normally make straight A's and has told me that as a result of taking her class someone had to be taken to the hospital (panic attack, stroke..who knows?). She is a harsh grader and the test questions that are multiple choice are often difficult to decipher. I already suffer from anxiety disorder and this class makes me feel ill sometimes. I recieved a 66 on my first test and was devestated. She literally expects every student to memorize 20 pages of lecture notes verbatim and in additon to be able to intrinsically know how to answer her sometimes vague essay questions. I will memorize every single word of her notes yet I feel that even if I know it all by heart she'll look for ways to take away points. What should I do if I feel she's being unfair? I'm not going to accept anything less than a C in her class...it's so frustrating because I know the material..hell..I read additional information on my own and know more than what she asks us to read...
    It sounds as though you think she is a bad instructor simply because you aren't getting as good a grade as you are accustomed to.

    before posting a reactionary response, think about whether there is any truth in this idea.

    Then ask yourself how much you are learning from her, compared to an instructor with lower standards. If you are learning more from her, then ask yourself again whether she is a good instructor or not.
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    Hmm..you sound a lot like her..are you her? LOL!! If so I recant!!! I never sad she was necessarily bad, only difficult.

    Yes, I have learned a lot. My concern is not with learning standards (hers or mine)... moreso with grading methods and my GPA...the standards I impose upon myself are extremely high and impossible to achieve..I'm used to being pedantic and anal myself..lol...I care more about paying attention to detail than many of my teachers do at this sophomoric level (for example, I learned the entire cellular respiration process on my own and learned the processes of replication, transcription and translation in detail though it wasn't asked of me or required). I'll just study as hard as I can and cross my fingers...
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    If you feel how you are graded is more important than what you know you may wish to reassess your viewpoint.

    IF you think life in the 'real world' will somehow be fairer than this teacher, or that all bosses will compliment you on a job well done, or that you won't be subject to unfair, discourteous treatment, then you are in for a large shock.

    In the worst case scenario this teacher is preparing you for what you will be up against in the work environment. In the best case I think free radical has likely hit the nail on the head.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    If you feel how you are graded is more important than what you know you may wish to reassess your viewpoint.

    IF you think life in the 'real world' will somehow be fairer than this teacher, or that all bosses will compliment you on a job well done, or that you won't be subject to unfair, discourteous treatment, then you are in for a large shock.

    In the worst case scenario this teacher is preparing you for what you will be up against in the work environment. In the best case I think free radical has likely hit the nail on the head.
    Who are you? Lol..you sound so authoritarian..oh the rigid, stubborn lives of uptight scientists! (not directed at everyone) Of course being graded well is important; the alternative is career and social death for an aspiring scientist. Now I'm not saying that what you've said isn't true...I truly do believe that what you know is more important than what your GPA is.

    IF you think life in the 'real world' will somehow be fairer than this teacher, or that all bosses will compliment you on a job well done, or that you won't be subject to unfair, discourteous treatment, then you are in for a large shock.
    I've already been exposed to that. I'm in a perpetual state of shock. I'm not 16 years old, I'm 25. I've been a member of the workforce for 9 years. I will not tolerate discourteous treatment or much unfairness (sometimes it's unavoidable) from anyone...boss, president, and chairman mao included...that doesn't mean I can't keep my job and do it well in any field.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Who are you? Lol..you sound so authoritarian..oh the rigid, stubborn lives of uptight scientists! (not directed at everyone) .
    Who am I? I'll tell you who I ****ing am. I am a real person who understands that the people posting their thoughts, concerns and hopes on a forum like this are real people too. So I take the time to make a point that I hope will help you. I don't have to do that, but I've seen enough of your contributions to think I like your internet persona and to suspect I might like you in person. So excuse me for caring enough to be direct and blunt.

    You say you are twenty five. I believe you, but your words on this occasion belie it. You sound more like an angst ridden teen. Take offense if you wish, but then also take time to consider why I would form that impression.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    If you feel how you are graded is more important than what you know you may wish to reassess your viewpoint.

    IF you think life in the 'real world' will somehow be fairer than this teacher, or that all bosses will compliment you on a job well done, or that you won't be subject to unfair, discourteous treatment, then you are in for a large shock.

    In the worst case scenario this teacher is preparing you for what you will be up against in the work environment. In the best case I think free radical has likely hit the nail on the head.
    In my opinion GPA is very important, as much as it would be nice to go to university just for the learning experience, the sensible thing is to be concerned about your options when you finish as well.

    Ideally you should learn and love what you learn, but you also have to succeed at the courses to be taken seriously.

    I think it is a good idea for student's future to pad their transcript with the occasional easy A and to avoid professors that refuse to give out As when possible.

    Edit: I don't believe your post was ill-intentioned though
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    In my opinion GPA is very important,
    I could agree it is important, but if it becomes the sole focus of your university experience then you have missed out on a lot. If there were a true and absolute correlation between GPA, knowledge, skills and understanding, then in one sense GPA would be the only thing to focus on, since it would be an accurate measure of the other, more important items. But I do not believe that correlation exists.

    I wrestle continuously with individuals (in the commercial environment) who are focused on checking of the box that says they have completed a course, without actually grasping what that course was for. Focus on the understanding, build the knowledge base, develop your skills: a good GPA will follow naturally from that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Who are you? Lol..you sound so authoritarian..oh the rigid, stubborn lives of uptight scientists! (not directed at everyone) .
    Who am I? I'll tell you who I ****ing am. I am a real person who understands that the people posting their thoughts, concerns and hopes on a forum like this are real people too. So I take the time to make a point that I hope will help you. I don't have to do that, but I've seen enough of your contributions to think I like your internet persona and to suspect I might like you in person. So excuse me for caring enough to be direct and blunt.

    You say you are twenty five. I believe you, but your words on this occasion belie it. You sound more like an angst ridden teen. Take offense if you wish, but then also take time to consider why I would form that impression.
    I owe you an apology. I have a tendency to get angry for no reason on occassion. What I said I meant only half-heartedly and said it (well..typed it..) because I felt that you were basically saying "well, life's tough, deal with it!" And, if so, you have a right to say it because it's true. I understand your point and believe and even agree with what you've said. I've read some of your posts as well and think you're a pretty cool, highly educated, well-bred person. :P
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    I owe you an apology.
    Apology gratefully accepted. Your earlier post seemed out of character. I do hope the situation with this teacher resolves itself satisfactorily.
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  23. #22  
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    There is a high probability that this teacher isn't reasonable.

    That's because many people just are not.

    Scientists and teachers are no exception to the rule.

    There is probably not a thing you can do about it. People don't like waves and if you make one, you will be the one that will be attacked. Never mind that you are a victim.

    Ride it out.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  24. #23  
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    I'm just hoping to pass this class. I hope it won't hurt my financial aid.
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    This is your typical idiot "teacher" with an ego problem...she just wants you to 'copy paste'.

    If you know your stuff well, then you should be able to get the right answer in her exams. If she makes questions that are WRONG, then you have something to show the ombudsman.
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    I may have misunderstood what you are saying about this particular lecturer, but I believe I had one just like her. And you know what? She was the best lecturer I have ever had. She taught me how to learn and how to really understand the subject area. In fact, I ended up working for her, and she has taught me near enough all I know. Almost failing her class highlighted exactly where I had been going wrong with studying for years. Lecturers all have different ways of teaching and different expectations from their students. Some will mark very high when students learn specifically what has been taught in class, others will push for more and expect students to really get to know their subject in order to get the high grades - and these types are often judged by students as unfair and harsh, mainly because a lot of academics don't have such high expectations. I speak from experience as an undergraduate, where I know I got very high marks in some classes that I didn't deserve because I put in the bare minimum effort yet produced exactly what the lecturer was looking for in terms of generic answers which had been practically spoon-fed to us.

    Does she really expect you to 'memorize 20 pages of lecture notes verbatim', or does she want you to fully understand what is in the lectures and then apply that knowledge to further external reading, independent learning and problem solving? You say you want to learn new and interesting things, so take what she teaches you further, learn it in depth and read around the subject areas as much as possible, find published papers which are relevant to the subjects, learn the references, and use them in relation to the taught material for example write about something you have been taught in class and give examples from recently published research - this will without doubt impress her. Her ambiguous questions are probably a technique to not only make you think, but also to distinguish between those who have fully understood the material and those who haven't (I'm not saying you don't understand the material, I'm just pointing out that this is often how questions which appear to be ambiguous work) - a question which maybe appears to be ambiguous to those who have not understood something as well as they could have might not be so ambiguous to someone who has. And I don't mean just knowing and understanding the material itself, I mean having learned the skills to take the material and adapt it to slightly different situations, which is something that is vital for something like microbiology.

    I'd advise you to take a step back from the gossip and rumours about how harsh/unfair this lecturer supposedly is, acknowledge that these things have probably come from students who have objected to her style of teaching, and reflect on exactly what it is she is trying to do in her class. If after doing that, you still feel there is a fundamental issue with her teaching, then bring it up with the head of the department. It may be that you are so caught up in thinking that this person is 'out to get' the students that you're missing the point of what she's doing and missing out on an opportunity to really learn something about how to learn science properly.

    Don't forget that it is not at all in your lecturer's best interests to have a large number of students fail or drop her class. Unless there are some serious issues (which, surely, someone in authority would have picked up on), it is highly unlikely that your lecturer is deliberately failing students. She just has high standards. Nothing wrong with that - it makes the students who recognise that and adapt to it much better equipped for future learning, even past undergraduate level.
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    Not that I entirely disagree, and I suppose this will be confusing to the poor sap who started this thread, but there is also the problem of tenure.
    It can keep idiot teachers in place, who should have been bounced right the @#^& out the door years ago. So this chick prof he's talking about could also indeed be a frikkin basket case.

    I speak from experience: a moron of a stats prof who gave us the WRONG formulae on the midterms, with a casual dismissive laugh afterwards. (Most of the students already hated him for a prof, and knew he was an idiot beforehand.)
    I found that the dept. chair was indeed unsympathetic and untrustworthy despite his claims otherwise, and indeed, the ombudsman is exactly where I needed to go in the first place.

    It's a choice that will need to be made. The previous post to this is great if you can do the work, and if it DOES succeed. If it doesn't work, you get a bad mark and you could be screwed. Going to the ombudsman is no guarantee either. In most institutions, you can demand that your test be re-marked by another professor. This probably won't help you much, though.

    You've got some big decisions to make.
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    I don't know what the problem is. I could probably figure this lady's methods out if I were a better psychologist but right now I'm drained. I've spoken to 6 other students (the smart ones, of course..lol) and they are for the most part doing poorly as well. There is one person with an A however....she said she simply reads the notes...that's a laugh..I read and reread those same notes and even rewrote them on notebook paper. I even did extra credit assignments. I got a C on the second test. Maybe I need to study with this girl and if I get a lower grade after doing exactly what she did, I'll know that I'm in the right...then we can demonstrate bias. The only problem is that this lady lets us see our tests in class and then hurriedly takes them back up (and for good reason..she probably realizes that if we had time to analyze them thoroughly and compare our results with others we may be able to build a compelling case for the dean or department head). So I could only write things on notebook paper as proof...hmmm...sounds like I have to be creative...

    And that's only if I have good reason to believe she's in the wrong. Right now I'm not 100% sure. If I found out that I were to blame I'd take responsibility and accept the grade (probably a D). I don't think it will affect me very much if I make sure I don't get another one for awhile. Some people have suggested to me that she wants extremely simple explanations. For example, transformation to be described as "1. a cell dies, leaving genetic material in extracellular space 2. another cell approaches 3. the cell takes in the genetic material of the donor cell 4. the genetic material of the first cell is incorporated into the genome of the second" However, I've tried it and it has gotten me nowhere...

    But I need to learn to move past this. I need to be happy that I'm transferring next semester to a new school and that I only need 65 credit hours to graduate with a BS in Bio. Greater than half of those classes will be the most interesting classes I've ever taken. Genetics, Organic chemistry, Invertebrate Zoology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Neuroscience (if in demand while I'm there), Mycology, Parasitology, etc...hell, maybe I'll even take Micro again (with a different teacher of course) and ace it
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    I suppose this will be confusing to the poor sap who started this thread, but there is also the problem of tenure.
    I'm not trying to be rude but why would I find the concept of tenure confusing?


    or does she want you to fully understand what is in the lectures and then apply that knowledge to further external reading, independent learning and problem solving?
    Further external reading such as the most recent issues of Science and Nature or in a supplementary text? If you are referring to a text, we have one but she tells us to steer clear of it and rely on her notes. From time to time, I also do read journal articles..but it wouldn't affect my grade because she doesn't focus on practical applications of the knowledge we learn or on expanding our knowledge base beyond her notes.
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    No, I meant that all the conflicting advice is what you'll find confusing.

    Just remember that most institutions will allow your test to be graded by other profs. She shouldn't be able to withhold your test from them. Of course, getting several tests compared could be another matter entirely. You would almost certainly need the involvement of the ombudsman to try it.

    I would sic that one on her immediately upon getting your final mark from her; you might improve your grade somewhat, and you will also not have given her any reason to alter your final mark before it is given.

    Then when it's finally done dusted and over with, you can give her the link to this thread.
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  31. #30  
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    At this point I feel like giving up. The class is almost over and she's not going to change. We're going to have a comprehensive final worth two test grades (no study guide) and overall we have 6 tests left in the last 7 or so weeks of school. I have to forego studying for my other classes just to get a terrible grade in what should be an easy course. My morale this semester is non-existant due to this teacher and I hope I never see her or have another teacher like her again. Good riddance to bad rubbish. I'd write her three papers and shine her shoes for a B but she wouldn't give a damn.
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  32. #31  
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    Chin up :wink:
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    Man, you think that's bad, if you try for med school and take med micro, you're gonna flip.

    In any case, your best friend will be the prof's office hours. She might seem like a bitch, but after you go over the material, even if you think you know it, you need to go to her office and go over the material with her. At least she'll see that you have a genuine interest. And make sure to be interested in what SHE has to say, even if it sounds arrogant and pompous.

    Something similar happened with me when I took genetics in undergrad. My prof was highly anal retentive, to the point where you had to use specific words to get an answer right (we never had multiple choice for his tests, it was all fill in the blanks), so we had to know what we were talking about to get points on the test. But, every now and then I'd go in and shoot the shit with him, even after I'd argued with him before about test questions. We'd end up having friendly conversations on books we read regarding evolution or the origin of mankind, etc... Needless to say, I ended up with a grade I was pleased with, considering he too had a reputation much like the prof you speak of.

    This is one area where you can keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer, and the prof is your enemy; keep her close to you and use her to your advantage.
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    Agreed. I have started studying for my 4th and final test before our final in advance. I will master this material. No question about it. This is from the first two pages of about 15 I'll have to memorize for the test:

    Gram + Bacteria:

    -these cells are non-motile b/c they lack a flagella

    -they use 3 diff types of transmission: direct contact, fomite and respiratory droplet

    -Staphylococcus genus: staphylococcus aureus is a pathogen of this genus

    -it has virulence factors, including: a capsule, surface proteins, enzymes and toxins

    -the surface protein is called Protein A..it is anti-phagocytic

    - some enzymes that help staph aureus are lipase and penicillinase

    -lipase hydrolyzes lipids and is involved in it's ability to form carbuncles

    -carbuncles are groups of boils that extend below the skin which allows bacteria to more easily enter the bloodstream (known as bacteremia)

    -more than 90% of all staph aureus are now resistant to most antibiotics

    - staph aureus makes many diff toxins, including enterotoxins, which are resistant to our gastric enzymes and fairly resistant to heat..commonly associated with foods like ham, pastries, potato salad and ice cream

    -toxic shock syndrome is a disease caused by staph aureus associated with tampon use..basic symptoms are: high fever, hypotension, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and death within 48 hours

    - staph aureus grows in large numbers due to elevated O in vagina and a neutral pH..the pathogen moves to the tampon and secretes toxins, avoiding the body's defences

    -Streptococcus genus

    - Gram + coccus shaped cells arranged in chains

    - Streptococcus pneumoniae is alpha hemolytic

    -it has a capsule and 84 different serotypes, so we need to make 84 antibodies to fight it

    - the capsule is insoluble in liquid and antibodies bind to the capsule thinking it's the pathogen even when the pathogen isn't there, tricking the body

    - some diseases associated with this pathogen are: pneumonia, sinusitis, otitus media and meningitis..all of these can lead to bacteremia

    - treatment for the pathogen is either penicillin or erythromycin

    As you can tell, it will be a lot of work and I'll also have to ask the teacher questions. I hope it works out. I need an A or B to get a C in the class.
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  35. #34  
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    I'm sure some gram +ve bacteria have flagella and are motile.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    I'm sure some gram +ve bacteria have flagella and are motile.
    Not according to her notes...she was going for general characteristics i suppose...
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  37. #36  
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    My grades so far...

    Exam 1- 66 (she didn't make it clear to us that we needed to focus on lecture notes and not the book..so got off to a bad start)

    Exam 2- 70 (studied every other day for an hour)

    Exam 3- 48 (got frustrated, said "why study if I'll get a low grade anyway?" to self.. studied maybe 2 hours..thought about dropping class)

    Exam 4 will be on 4/20...I'm studying my ass off and will probably get a 75-80 at best. A friend of mine locked herself in a room all day over the weekend and studied non-stop and got an 87 on Exam 3...so it's possible but very time consuming. I know the reasons for my failure in this class more clearly now. It is not entirely the teacher's fault. Yes, she makes the class unnecessarily difficult, but if I weren't so stressed and had more time I could see myself getting at least a C. Now I'm looking at a D. Maybe even an E due to lab grades.

    The issues that caused this semester to suck:

    -Taking 3 classes online (the lecture portion of the micro class is online as well), one of them a math class, which is not the easiest subject for me

    - Working 30 hours a week

    - Always having lab tests in general bio II and microbio at the same time

    - I have generalized anxiety disorder and I wasn't controlling it as well as usual

    - Taking the most difficult teacher I've ever had since 2003 (a history professor who gave quizzes everyday...wanted to know the exact dates of many historical events and expected everyone to be self-taught...)



    At least I'm beginning to understand that it has nothing to do with an inability to understand microbiology (the reason why I posted here at first was insecurity..thinking maybe I was to blame, although I wouldn't have admitted it before) I'm pretty sure if I take the class again I'll do well due to the knowledge I've gained.
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    Our lowest grades will be dropped and replaced by the final lab and lecture exams. I've discovered that I need to get a 75 on the next lab test and a 75 on the lab final and above an 80 on the next lecture test as well as a 75 or so on the lecture final to get a C. My highest grade so far was a 70... however, I earned 5 extra credit points for the lecture test already. :-D No matter what, this class was quite a learning experience...
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  39. #38  
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    Welcome to life.
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  40. #39  
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    Thanks, but I've been experiencing life already for quite some time. :wink:
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    The bitch switched things up and made the test multiple choice, having us compare and contrast various gram - and gram + bacteria in detail and gave me a 63 on the test. The answers were often vague and tricky. I don't know whether to quit at this point or to go for the final...here's a letter I've been thinking of sending to her in response to her "Dear Michael, you got a 63 on test 4" e-mail:



    Seriously? I studied probably 15 hours for that test and even neglected studying for another class in order to study for it longer. You may think that because a few people can do well, the reason for the rest of us not doing well is that we don't work hard enough or that we aren't smart enough to succeed. That isn't true. We all work extremely hard and it isn't good enough for you. I don't know everything and you shouldn't expect me to at this stage. I am just now getting acquainted with the subject of microbiology and in any other class I'd have an A or B. I've learned so much from your class yet I'm frustrated by your grading methods. It's hard enough to work 30 hours a week and then study 15-20 hours JUST for your class. What you do is discourage intelligent, normally confident people from pursuing a career in nursing or biology. Sure, occasionally someone might have a photographic memory or previous experience and can manage an A or B average in your class but most people can't do it. You know very well that the majority of us will have terrible grades. You have to consider that most of us are not slackers or idiots. Most of us have at least cumulative 3.0+ GPA's. Most of us have taken other science classes at CPCC and elsewhere and excelled. Do you really feel that what you're doing is beneficial to the education of your students? Do you think that you're preparing us to succeed in life? I don't. Maybe you intend to but you're really only hurting us. You expect too much too soon. You expect us to think like you do. Well, we haven't had the years of experience that you have had studying the subject.

    To be completely honest with you, I didn't even need to take your class. It wasn't a requirement. It was to experience the joy of learning something new. At least I'm getting that out of taking your class. On the other hand, I am disappointed that you feel the need to make things much more difficult than they need to be. All of us memorize your notes nearly verbatim and it isn't good enough for you. Most of us walk out of the room after taking a test feeling good, thinking we'll be getting the grades we deserve; the grades we've earned... only to learn that we have C's and D's or even less.

    I take full responsibility for failing exam 3 and doing poorly on lab tests. But do you know why I did poorly? Because I lost my drive...because I gave up. I knew that no matter how much I put in I'd get much less in return. Even if I had done well on those tests, I'd still have a low C average or a D. And if it were a D it would be akin to failing because it doesn't count. I don't have anything against you as a person or a teacher. I simply think that you are a tough grader. It's completely up to you if you chose to inspire people or discourage them. Right now you're doing the latter. You can respond if you'd like with a comment about how I've reaped what I've sown but I don't agree. I'm sorry.

    You need to consider that your methodology is wasting people's hard earned money and time. I've studied history (3 semesters), chemistry, biology (3 semesters), religion, german (4 semesters) and philosophy at CPCC and haven't ever had a teacher like you before. Instead of doing everything in your power to help students learn, you have us memorize notes for a test that you can grade on a whim, taking points off at your discretion based on your own arbitrariness. I know for a fact that the only people doing well in our class happen to be women. Do you have something against men since your divorce?

    Several of my friends have dropped the class and I'm thinking of doing the same. One of them works in a lab and knows proper lab procedure for many of the labs we've done in class. Do you really think that they deserved bad grades in your class?
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  42. #41  
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    I would submit that letter, usually universities have ways to submit anonymous course feedback. Usually as an evaluation online or in class.

    It's not good to accuse her of bias either.
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  43. #42  
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    Signed up to retake this summer with a new teacher. If I do well, the E will cancel out. It'll be a one month long deal but I have a good understanding of the material already so I should be fine. I'll keep you all posted. Lol you know I always do.
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  44. #43  
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    I understand your plight and desire to maintain a high GPA, especially if you are dependent on scholarships to help you along the way. I have known students who were lucky enough to have family pay their entire tuition, and they slacked off and did not care about grades; others have to bust their butts so that school will not cost them a fortune.

    While I believe that all schools have different policies, it's common practice that if you withdraw from a class, there will be a W placed on your transcript until you repeat the class, and then it is replaced with a grade.

    As for federal student aid, as long as there is not a pattern of Ws following you around, one dropped class should not be an issue. Talk to your school about your options, they are there to help guide you. Also, if you were to drop the class, and there is still time left, usually mid-semester, 10 week courses are available to fill in the credits you need to be considered full-time status for financial aid.

    If all else fails, save up your money and buy a LiveScribe pen...it is an invaluable piece of technology that can help you to decipher even the worst professor's lecture!!
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  45. #44  
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    MissBiologist has given you sympathy. That's good. I sense you need some encouragement.

    I'll take a different tack. I thought your letter read like that of a whining no-hoper. 'Oh, you make things really hard for us. Boo-hoo.' Toughen up man, for ****'s sake. In all of your posts you have so far failed to convince me that your teacher is being unreasonable. Yes, she is setting high standards. Is that a bad thing? Of course not. She expects a lot of you? Wow, it seems she has more faith in you than you have in yourself. You thinks she favours women! Wow, after several millenia of subjugation maybe a little positive discrimination is a good thing.

    Just some altenate thoughts.
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  46. #45  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    MissBiologist has given you sympathy. That's good. I sense you need some encouragement.

    I'll take a different tack. I thought your letter read like that of a whining no-hoper. 'Oh, you make things really hard for us. Boo-hoo.' Toughen up man, for ****'s sake. In all of your posts you have so far failed to convince me that your teacher is being unreasonable. Yes, she is setting high standards. Is that a bad thing? Of course not. She expects a lot of you? Wow, it seems she has more faith in you than you have in yourself. You thinks she favours women! Wow, after several millenia of subjugation maybe a little positive discrimination is a good thing.

    Just some altenate thoughts.
    Your comments are duly noted although I find them rude and unhelpful. You've always been there for me and I'll return the favor one day; always do. Maybe you'll be experiencing some hardship in your life and I'll insert a comment in a thread to brighten your day :wink:

    Besides, here is her profile online:

    http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/Show...jsp?tid=160978

    Look for yourself. See that I'm not the only one who thinks she wasn't the best teacher ever.
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    Since you have completly misinterpreted the sincerity of my attempt to support you and my deep commitment to doing so, is it not possible you are misinterpreting hers?
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  48. #47  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Since you have completly misinterpreted the sincerity of my attempt to support you and my deep commitment to doing so, is it not possible you are misinterpreting hers?
    Well, if you read carefully what I've written you'll notice that I never completely blame the teacher (I did, however, refer to her as a bitch once..which was probably wrong of me). I question my own judgement as well. That's why I'm retaking the class with a different teacher next semester (one with a reputation only slightly better than the teacher I had last semester) to see if perhaps I was at fault. I even listed why I may have partially been to blame in some of my earlier posts. I have no doubt that at this point in time I'm not misinterpreting her. I realize that she's not a terrible person; just that, yes, she had incredibly high standards. It is my opinion, however, that if over 90% of a class either fail or recieve D's her grading methods are a bit unfair.

    I thought your letter read like that of a whining no-hoper.
    When you fail a class you expected an A or B in it's difficult not to complain.

    That's good. I sense you need some encouragement.
    Thanks, I appreciate it. (in all seriousness)
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  49. #48 Re: What to do about an impossible teacher... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    My microbiology class was going to be my favorite class. I was going to learn new and interesting things and bump up my GPA by taking a subject that I thought would be an easy A or B.
    Going back to the OP, it occurs to me that in my experience learning about smaller and smaller things (in this case microbes) becomes progressively harder and harder. Particle physics, for example, is completely hopeless.

    Microbiology is not a 'fun' class, not in the 'easy' way that many students initially expect. The physiological diversity of microorganisms puts every other group on the planet to shame. They have multiple photosyntheitc, chemosynthetic, and heterotrophic pathways that we have never imagined. A new pathway of oxygen generation in some microorganisms was only just reported two months ago, as one example. Pathology - that will never be enjoyable in an easy way. Torturous latin names, complex symptoms that vary from one patient to the next, epidemiology and immunology, each could be an entire class in its own right yet in microbiology the students are expected to learn it all.

    Consider that all of animalia uses the krebs cycle to generate reducing power and ultimately energy. If you consider animal physiology to be a challenging subject, then you can easily expect microbial physiology (for starters) to be an order of magnitude more complicated. Virtually any compound you can imagine can be metabolized by some microorganism or other. Hell, they even degrade plastcis. Hell, they even make plastics.

    Interesting yes. Easy? Sorry, no. Looking back to your OP it seems your expectations were what led to this mess, but you'll get it sorted in the summer and probably have learned a great deal in the process.
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  50. #49 Re: What to do about an impossible teacher... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    My microbiology class was going to be my favorite class. I was going to learn new and interesting things and bump up my GPA by taking a subject that I thought would be an easy A or B.
    Going back to the OP, it occurs to me that in my experience learning about smaller and smaller things (in this case microbes) becomes progressively harder and harder. Particle physics, for example, is completely hopeless.

    Microbiology is not a 'fun' class, not in the 'easy' way that many students initially expect. The physiological diversity of microorganisms puts every other group on the planet to shame. They have multiple photosyntheitc, chemosynthetic, and heterotrophic pathways that we have never imagined. A new pathway of oxygen generation in some microorganisms was only just reported two months ago, as one example. Pathology - that will never be enjoyable in an easy way. Torturous latin names, complex symptoms that vary from one patient to the next, epidemiology and immunology, each could be an entire class in its own right yet in microbiology the students are expected to learn it all.

    Consider that all of animalia uses the krebs cycle to generate reducing power and ultimately energy. If you consider animal physiology to be a challenging subject, then you can easily expect microbial physiology (for starters) to be an order of magnitude more complicated. Virtually any compound you can imagine can be metabolized by some microorganism or other. Hell, they even degrade plastcis. Hell, they even make plastics.

    Interesting yes. Easy? Sorry, no. Looking back to your OP it seems your expectations were what led to this mess, but you'll get it sorted in the summer and probably have learned a great deal in the process.
    I don't mean to sound arrogant but when I typed "I was going to learn new and interesting things and bump up my GPA by taking a subject that I thought would be an easy A or B" I meant that I thought it would be easy for me. I knew that most people would find it challenging but I've read about e. coli, parasites and immunology on my own in the past and thought micro would be relatively simple for me to comprehend ( we did cover the immune response and parasitology in the course). Knowing what I know now, I could have likely gotten a C although with that teacher it would have required much effort. I now know to study harder for lab tests (I didn't study for two of them as long as I should have) and to never give up when the going gets tough and things seem hopeless.
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  51. #50  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    How can I adapt to an inhospitible environment? I'd have to be a thermophile to be able to adapt to her hell.
    Or ganisms live in the dead sea I think the dead sea qualifies as inhospitable You will just have to ruff it out and maybe ask her for help what do you even learn in that class?

    Something that could help with your learning if you liketo be hands on is get an aqurium tank and fill it up with sea water you don't even need a filter you don't need to take care of it just put a strong light over it on a timer helll you don't even need a timer take a bit of water and look at it under the microscope sometimes and you will be amazed at what the water contains you will see carnivores omnivores herbavores plants you could get a red algea bloom that will turn into a green algea bloom(you probobly will) the ocean greatest secrets aren't in the coralreefsthey are literraly IN the water
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  52. #51  
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    Took it again and got a B.
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