Thursday, September 03, 2009

Student frustration

So, I realized one of my students has not attended EITHER lab meeting, nor has he been in lecture like, at all, since the first day.

(A note has been despatched to the Registrar. They like to know these things because occasionally people scam financial aid - take the check and disappear. And of course, that's scamming us, the taxpayer).

Anyway, this is a person with whom I have a bit of a history. He took this class last year, decided he was "too smart" and "already knew too much" and stopped coming.

And then came crying to me in early November because he was earning an F and really really needed to drop. And being in a weak mood, I signed the form, rather than making him take the "WF" he really deserved. (Heh. Put a T in the middle of that and it'd be even more appropriate).

The thing is, we get students like this once in a while. The "D is for Diploma!" crowd. They bug me. They bug the more serious students.

But they especially bug me. I've said before how I object to people "phoning it in" on what is essentially going to be their career: if you hate biology or conservation sufficiently much that you want to skip all your classes, might it not be a good idea to major in something else? If you have so little enthusiasm for the discipline that you cannot complete a single project for a class in it, shouldn't you consider another field?

The other thing that gets me is that I know this person is a whiner. He will perhaps finally squeak through with a diploma, but will not be employable in his (rather competitive) field because of a high number of Ds and also because he never did any internships or research or really, seemed to give a crap at all. (And yes, employers look at that). But the thing is: when he doesnt' get a job, it won't be because of that.

It will be because our department sucks, because we don't care about the students, and because we didn't teach him jack.

And what irritates me is that there will be a few people out there foolish enough to believe the guy - because they have no experience with the good students we have, the ones who come back from graduate work at one of the major state universities and tell me, "Wow, my first-term graduate stats class was a cakewalk because of what you taught us in Biostats!" or "I was the only person in my grad-level community ecology class who had even HEARD of that theory you talked about in basic Ecology."

I know. Like the donkey in the old story I should just "shake 'em off and step up," but people like CryBaby WhinyPants bug me. Because here I am, doing my level best to teach, and they don't want to be receptive to ANY of it. They don't think it's important, or they think because they hunt and fish they already know all the ecology they need to know. Stuff like that.

The other thing is, a lot of these "D is for Diploma" guys have the assumption they are going to get jobs with the state Fish and Wildlife Commission. These jobs are EXTREMELY competitive - they go to the folks with good GPAs and who took advantage of extra learning opportunities like internships. And yet, no matter how much we preach that, people don't believe us. And then, when they wind up as the night manager at a 7-11, because they don't know their biology stuff, they blame us.

Agrh. So I'm just going to let CryBaby WhinyPants continue down his path. I've alerted the registrar; that's all I can do. When he gets his big fat F this semester, he can cry and whine all he wants. Because if you can't be arsed to even come to lab, you don't deserve to pass.

1 comment:

nightfly said...

If he gets the "F" now, hopefully he realizes that he's heading to a bad place... though as you suggest, the odds aren't good. But poor odds are better than no odds at all. Peace be with you, ricki.

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