Sunday, April 5, 2009

ABCs and 12Zs

School... This is a word that has been genetically embedded in our brain for generations to send emotions of dread, fear, and overall annoyance to our mind. While some people enjoy the idea of being trapped inside a cell with Mr. and Mrs. Monotone lecturing, and furthering their knowledge by "good quality education", others do not find this schedule too appealing. And then there are people stuck in the middle, like me.

I wasn't always like this. I used to be one of the ones who actually enjoyed waking up to go to class. But through the years, I've become numb with the agitating nonsense that goes on within the classroom. I still enjoy studying and believe it or not I do enjoy learning, but there are a few characters that make me question going to class in the morning.

  • Professors who insist on being late to class: If I have to wake up early in the morning to deal with obnoxious characters, I expect the professor to be there on time. One semester I had a professor constantly come to class ten minutes late. That's ten minutes I could have been relaxing in bed.

  • The laugh at their own jokes professors: These are the awkward professors who typically have a monotone voice (I've noticed). It's awesome when there's a lively, energetic, funny, professor. Unfortunately, that's rare to find. Instead, there's the extremely boring, nervous, repetitive, professors who decide to break the ice by having their own comedy routine. Of course, being a student, you have to laugh at the lame jokes to avoid being labeled "the bad student". I have one teacher this semester who I'll call Mrs. Coffee (whom you'll be hearing a lot about in this section). Mrs. Coffee enjoys opening up the class with her played out punchline with her tired, monotone voice: "I guess I should have had my second cup of coffee this morning." The first day of class, I admit it was "cute", but now she seriously needs some new material.

  • Group Projects: This is a growing trend in classroom assignments. I've noticed that a bunch of people love the idea of group projects. I always wondered why, and now I know. These are the people that don't do any work. I understand that the point of a group project is to get different ideas and feedback from other people, but somehow, that's never the case. In almost all instances of group projects, I end up getting screwed over. There's always that one that doesn't do work, never shows up, never turns in their information on time, comes up with stupid excuses. Give me a break! And my grade is based on their laziness? Thanks!

  • Professors who don't respect opinions: Mrs. Coffee fits in this category... I've never seen so many comments on any of my papers as much as I've seen on her assignments. She has even commented on my titles! Are you serious? You're going to bash my title? You haven't even read the damn paper yet! In her assignments, her students are asked to analyze aspects of certain literature works. Ok... Well, different people interpret literature in different ways. In her class, there's only one way to interpret a meaning and that's her way. Creativity is dead in this class.

  • Being put on the spot: We've all been there. "Ms. Mason, what do you think about this situation?" Of course Ms. Mason has a phobia about public speaking... If a student doesn't feel like verbalizing their opinions, I don't think it should be counted against them. Some people are shy and get nervous ( ie: ME), a topic may not be appealing to that person, or that person could just be having a bad day.

  • Stretching out class time as long as possible: It's 12:10, you look at the time, and...YES! It's almost 12:15. The teacher has run out of material (Mrs. Coffee), surely, class will be let out early. Of course not... Mrs. Coffee decides to hold the class till the very end rambling on and on about everything not related to the lesson. And if Mrs. Coffee isn't rambling, there's always someone eager to share their life story to the class PAST the ending time.

  • Constant research papers/projects: Ever since third grade, I've been bombarded with meaningless projects and papers. What's wrong with a couple of papers or a couple of projects? To be honest, when you tell me to write a ten page research paper, that I could have sworn I wrote another one about this very topic, I stop learning. All I want from this point on is to finish the paper. And what's with these projects given to elementary school students? Making a dinosaur clock never made me learn a damn thing about Godzilla.

When I walk into most classrooms, the passion for learning is dead. The reason for this is because the passion for teaching is dead in some teachers. Most of the time, they're just trying to fill in another slot in their lesson plan. And people wonder why education is going downhill. Well, if a lesson is just another thing to fill the spot in a lesson plan, school is just another thing to fulfill a degree.