Students blame low grades on professors

The major guideline I was given for writing my columns was to make sure that I didn’t outright offend anyone. I hope it doesn’t come to that and I hope that no one really reads this with complete seriousness, because even I don’t take myself that seriously.

Nevertheless, a problem is growing, and no matter who is responsible, or how much criticism I receive from my classmates, it’s time I address it.

I’m enrolled in a hundred-level course with a foreign instructor I believe is extremely intelligent. His English is surprisingly good for someone who has been in America for as short a time as he has, and he is understandable to those who pay close attention to him. At this point, I think many of my classmates lack the drive to do this (yet, if they wanted to pass the course, they should be doing this anyway). A few days ago, I overheard several of my classmates planning to offer complaints to the head of the department.

Sometimes this is warranted, but I feel in some cases that the students’ lack of preparation for class and lack of understanding for the material can be channeled into or mistaken for not understanding the instructor.

All of us are guilty of this sometimes.

This is, in the case of foreign instructors, no excuse for making ignorant comments about the instructors’ ethnic background. All you are doing is further demonstrating a tendency to write things off as beyond your control.

Not to mention that, in the odd chance you are placed in a class where you truly cannot understand what the professor is saying within class, you should drop that class. I know for a fact that my class is taught by a different instructor at the same time, same day. Why just stay in the same class when you can easily switch?

Worst of all, if he says or writes something you don’t comprehend, ask him to clarify. Otherwise, how will the student or the instructor be able to correct the mistake for future exams students the instructor teaches?

We all have the capability of learning, and there are plenty of places on campus that serve as supplementary learning facilities — Math Lab, Writer’s Lab, or Study Skills Lab. I realize this is an extreme case I’m describing.


Yet, we shouldn’t simply write things off as a foreign symbol or that he’s speaking another language, unless of course you really don’t want to learn, and in that case you might as well simply be quiet about it.

The disruption caused by other students in my class hinders those who are trying to get something out of it. They talk over him, and sometimes I look around the room and am stunned to see a majority of my classmates either sleeping or having their own discussions. Most teachers would never tolerate this, but my instructor simply tries to talk over them. Granted, it is his fault for not standing up, but I still think he should be paid more respect than just ignoring him.

Since you pay the same amount whether you receive an A or a D, and another instructor teaches the same class at the same time, why stay? And getting something out of it does not entail insulting his occasional mispronunciation. For those whose first and only language is English, you cannot expect to understand what it’s like learning another language (especially one with as many complexities as English) later on in life.

I know my classmates will read this, recognize me, and stubbornly stick to their opinions of our instructor. I can already imagine the response I will get for this ranting, and I’ll guess at least one will come from a classmate. I didn’t choose this subject to ridicule them or any student responsible for doing this.

Surely, there are good instructors and not so good ones, yet I know I’d be terrified to teach a classroom full of restless college students. It’s so unnatural to be stuck in a room and absorb information for an hour plus, but that’s life. I simply thought that perhaps we should all look at what we say and do from an alternative standpoint once in awhile; it helps us to remember that changing is possible.