Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bad Professor

If a professor of mine is good at his job – if he has obviously read the assigned text book and more about the topic covered in the course he’s teaching, there’s no way I would comment about his boil-like facial growth on my blog. That would be mean-spirited and, therefore, off-limits.

On the other hand, if a boil-faced professor happened to know very little about the subject of his course – if, say, a student asked a question about the topic; he responded, “I’m not really clear on the history of that;” and then the student opened her textbook to page one and promptly read the answer to her own question – you better believe his lesions are fair-game.

Aesthetics aside, I had pretty much decided to drop my summer school class in the first twenty minutes of the three-and-a-half hour session when the prof launched into an interminable lecture about the horrors of plagiarism, which were outlined in his syllabus. He’d know if we did it, he said, because he’d look on the internet. We’d get in big trouble, and he always has a “sense” when something is fishy about a paper. We shouldn’t try to engage in any questionable activity. Or else.

When he got around to the last page of the syllabus, which was a list of references for further reading about the topic of the course, a student noticed that one of the citations was dated 1966.

“This one seems old,” she said. “Is this a pivotal study? Particularly important to the field?”

“Oh,” he said, “I’m not familiar with that one.”

The woman seemed surprised, as he had listed the article as an important supplemental resource for the course he was teaching.

“Well,” he explained, “I inherited the syllabus.”

Things got worse at the end of the night when we asked him to summarize the findings of a study we’d seen described on a video tape he’d just shown us.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t seen the end.”

No comments: