How about a little respect, please?
Okay, time for more venting and dissertation blues. Haul out the tiny violins, please, and also everyone get ready to sing along with Arethra Franklin singing her wonderful “Respect”…
Whew! Always love good, passionate music. So, now that we all feel better for that, let me get into my grumpy pants again. This log is about — you guessed it — respect… and associatedly, professionalism. Again, I’m not going to go into tons of detail because I don’t want to cause problems for anyone; this is just me venting.
There are two issues that stand out for me regarding professionalism and respect. The first is a professor who informed us that we had to have read the required texts over the summer before class started. This is common practice for short classes with complex subjects, and I have no trouble with it. What I have trouble with is when the professor doesn’t post the syllabus for the class — which has the list of required texts in it — until less than two weeks before the class is to start!
That’s absurd. It can take over a week for all the books to arrive, regardless of whether they’re being purchased or requested from the library.
Secondly, the professor sent out an email telling us there was an addition to the required books list. Two problems with this: (a) she didn’t bother checking to be sure the email reached all her students, and (b) technically this meant the new book also had to be read before class started. No problem, right? Except… guess when the email got sent out?
The day before class.
I wish I was joking. Unfortunately… it gets better — for certain values of the word. This professor walked into class with two boxes of printed readers — which we were required to purchase. This was an unpleasant and unexpected financial shock for me, as the reader was as expensive as some of the texts — and I always get my textbooks from the library whenever possible, to save money. However, when I startledly mentioned my financial issue, the professor airily said that we, as students, were just expected to have enough money to handle that kind of off-the-cuff expense. So what is she saying here — that poor women should just slink off and not bother her any more, because they aren’t rich enough to deserve to learn?!
Worse, I discovered later that day that all the texts in the reader were also already on-line! When I carefully and politely (as in I waited until after lunch so I had time to calm down and craft a courteous query) asked why we hadn’t just had the texts’ on-line locations emailed to us, the professor laughed and admitted that she’d had the readers printed out because she liked marking up her copy — and printing just one was prohibitively expensive.
So wait, wait! Let me be sure I’ve got this right: the professor made all the students purchase unnecessary and pricy readers, without any advance warning… for her comfort? Yeah, fuck you very much, prof. Since you’ve made it crystal clear just how little you care for anyone but yourself, I can’t say as I feel any need to respect you either.
At least the co-professor was considerate and listened. She was the only reason we weren’t required to have already read the books for class, in fact — she listened to our worries about the syllabus and emails, and agreed that it was unrealistic for us to have already done the readings under those circumstances. That class turned out well for me only because of her and my wonderful sister scholars. So… let’s close on an upbeat note! Here’s the indomitable and ever-fabulous Tina: nice… and… rough! You’re welcome. :)
Rick! How wonderful to hear from you again! I know having a child is a full-time occupation all on its own, but I was rather missing your commentary here.
RE: being a teacher — I was rather wondering what your opinion on this professor would be. I was starting to fear her indifferent and (IMNSHO) unprofessional behavior was what was actually *expected* by this point. I’m relieved you too feel it’s really unacceptable.
Thanks for commenting! :)
Speaking as a teacher this woman’s attitude is appalling…yet all-too common. I hear stories like this all the time from my students. I try to keep my students’ text book purchases as low as possible for my classes, and even then I feel guilty if I have to add something. This professor needs a swift dose of reality ala Trading Places.