- The art or profession of teaching.
- Preparatory training or instruction.
[French pédagogie, from
Old French, from Greek paidagōgiā,
from paidagōgos, slave who took
children to and from school. See
Show up to every
class and lab.
This one should be easy, but I cannot tell you the
number of times that I noticed some marginal student not showing up to
class. Good heavens, how can I give a student a break if they don't even
care enough to attend my class? The distribution of missing students is
always bimodal - it's either the very top or the very bottom students. The
top students tend to miss class because they already know the material,
while the bottom students miss class because...I don't know... they are
sleeping off a wild party?
This one kills me. Picture this, I am tutoring a student and am trying to
get a sense for the class they are finding so hard. Often I will ask about
which instructor they have, I know most of them quite well, and this will
help me focus on the important aspects of success for that particular class.
However, the student will look at me blankly (sometimes a bit sheepishly)
and will tell me they don't know the prfessor's name. They might admit not showing up
to class much, or if they do tend to show up, they will try to describe
John <trying to help out a
student>: "Who's your professor? Do you know his name"
Student: "Well, he's an older guy, he looks like he's
Chinese, or maybe Indian...he wears glasses sometimes....his name?
John <thinking to himself>: "Aaaargh!"
Your professor might be teaching two or even three classes, and have 70~100
student names to learn, while you might have 4 or 5 professors at most.
Learn their names! If you were really ambitious, you would read their home page,
check out their research, and try and get to know them as a person. At the
very least, this effort might make you enough interested in their work to make their
monotonous teaching style a little more bearable. :)
Complain to the
instructor in complete sentences, and use decent English and grammar.
Here is verbatim the worst email I have ever received from a student asking
i am haveing a small problem this semester. i am
leaving to play
professional soccer this semester and wanted to finish
my last smc
elective. i was wondering f could work with you to
finish up these
credits. my ocunselor said it had to be up to you but
it will be
approved. graduationg is very important to me so you
would be helping
Please tell me what you would do with this request. Seriously! Even more
ironic was that the student screwed up the email and sent it to me when he
meant to send it to another instructor. We all write emails that
occasionally contain a spelling error or two. However an email like this can
really present yourself as a basket case.
Let a suitable interval of time
pass before complaining about grades.
I have a story about this one also. I was one of 3 teaching assistants for a
large introductory computer programming course, each of us had our own
sections to manage, but we had given the entire class the same midterm exam.
We had graded the exams round-robin style, with each of us grading two
complete problems across all three sections. Over the course of a long
weekend, we had graded our own section's selected problems and then had met
to exchange exams with each other. As a result, each of us finished up
grading and had possession of a set of exams from a different section.
Follow me so far, right? Well, in order to save time, we decided that
each of us would enter in the grades for the section we had ended with, and
then would exchange exams that next week so we could return them to our
respective sections. So I enter Joe's grades, Joe enters Tom's grades, and
Tom enters my grades. You see the potential here, right? As a result of this
method, the students get to see their grades online before I even get a
chance to see their tests myself. No problem, right? Heh.
So there I am, basking in the glow of having finished grading and entering a
whole wad of tests (each section had about 75 students) when I get an email
from one of my students. They are complaining about their grade. They tell
me that they did better than the grade reflected. Now, mind you,
I haven't even seen the exams, let alone
any of the students. I am fairly stunned. I mean, I could imagine a valid
complaint AFTER the exam is returned, after the student has had time to look
at it, but BEFORE the student has even seen it??? Oh, my gawd.....this was
really the most amazing chutzpah I have ever experienced with regards to whining about
better grades. The student insisted, via several emails back and forth, that
he just knew he earned a better grade and why didn't I realize that and adjust
his grade accordingly?? This one still amazes me. And as Dave Barry often
says "I am not making this up!"