What I Worry About For The Future Students

Did I say I will update my recipes? =P
I guess that will be pushed later again.

Students don’t ask or say anything (and blame the teacher for not reading their mind)

This is the most troubling thing I have encountered.  Although I made the students come up with a time for my office hours, even though they said they were available, they did not come, nor did they ask questions in class when I asked for questions.  I guess the latter can be explained by the students’ self image (don’t want to be embarrassed by asking an easy question), but the former is a mystery as I repeatedly reminded them about the office hours and meeting by appointments as necessary.  And all the while my TA, who was unfamiliar with the course material, was getting 30+ e-mails per week and gave up replying (and I got 5 or 6 e-mails a week and was always fast in response).

When I was a student (6 years ago as an undergraduate student), I was shy.  If I did not ask questions in class, I would try to find the answers from the TA or the book.  If I couldn’t find the answers, I tried more.  I asked questions when the professors were less intimidating.  If I didn’t do well in a class, I blamed myself for not trying hard enough.

From students’ feedback, I sensed something alarming.  The students are maybe 6 or 7 years younger than I am, but they asked for things like answers to the homework before the due date so they can check their answers, apology from me being rude when they came late to my office hours and I was with another student and they had to leave, dropping 1 out of 5 assignment grades, etc.  Overall I felt that students seemed very self-righteous, thinking that everything must be laid out in front of them for them to pick and choose!

What happened to introspection?  What happened to speaking out for oneself?  Maybe the solution lies with changing the way I approach students.  I should have more rules like participation as part of the grade, reading before coming to class, a sign-in sheet for office hours, a box for questions to be anonymously submitted, a colored flash card to show their understanding of the material, etc.  Although I felt these tactics are not motivating the students to be more proactive, at least this will cease the complaints for me.  But how then, could I teach the students to voice their opinions in the real world and fight for what they want?

I also learned that I can’t please everyone.  I try to be as friendly as possible, and students think it’s a sign of lacking confidence, forgetting that as a short woman, I am already approachable.  Another example is my advisor who was a tall Caucasian male, students thought he was arrogant.  In addition, when I realized from a survey that some student were confusing environmentalism and environmental engineering and tried to explain that I do not preach environmentalism in an environmental engineering class although I am an environmentalist, other students called it “ranting” and a waste of time.

Oh, how I worry for the next generation!


About leneatiengo

Vegan, without onion, garlic, leek, coriander/cilantro, hing (asafoetida), scallion, green onion, chives
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