I walked into your class on the first day during syllabus week, and I was on my best behavior. I showed up on time, had your syllabus printed out, and sat in the second row. I didn’t use my phone once during the first class, nor did I talk without raising my hand. I understand I’m being a decent person, but in college, students like me are hard to come by. I know being a student is a privilege, not a right, but don’t doubt for a second that I won’t fight for this privilege.
In the first few weeks, you seemed OK. I thought that perhaps I would warm up to you as time went on. Your personality was very different from mine, and I tried my hardest to give you a fair chance. Sure, you were demanding, but also a little spacey, precise about irrelevant things, and free-flowing about important things, but I decided to be patient.
A month into class, I started to wonder if I could make it through your curriculum. One paper in, and I was not off to a great start. I asked you for help. I went to your office hours, and you handed me off to either a teacher’s assistant or a graduate assistant. I’m still not sure which because they ceased to help me a single bit. I tried to stop in during your office hours again, and you simply belittled my writing and refused to hand me any usable advice.
“You just don’t get it,” you told me. “You don’t want this enough.” I have never left a professor’s office feeling more attacked. I cried for a short period before anger overtook me. I tried harder on the next paper and saw progress. A new letter grade. You still left comments on my paper that read, “You could do better.” So I pushed myself. I worked harder on the next paper, reading the pages more closely. You gave me the lower grade again.
At this point, I’m starting to lose hope. It’s too late to drop the class, and you’re standing in front of the measly few that are left preaching about how we’re going to fail the class if we don’t do X, Y, Z. You’re getting in our faces and telling us that other professors aren’t going to put up with this. You’re damn wrong if you think I’m putting up with this from other professors.
I’m not sure you actually want me to succeed, but I’m not paying you to leave me floundering. I decide to seek help elsewhere because I know you won’t have any constructive advice for me. I talk to friends, other professors, and tutors who help me with some key tips.
I’m letting you know that I will fight for my grades. I will fight for tutoring and help. Although I’m envying those students who dropped your class, I will fight to the end with the few lingering behind fighting for that passing grade.
It’s one thing to belittle us via our writing, our assignments and projects. It’s a whole other thing to bully us in the classroom, convincing us as students that we are nothing, that we will not succeed if we cannot pass your class. I will not be scared into learning. I am not interested in listening to a professor who doesn’t want to see me succeed.
I am not interested in anyone who isn’t interested in helping me succeed. To the nightmare college professor, you better hope you’re not up for tenure.
When faculty evaluations come around, you can bet I’ll be more honest than I’ve ever been in my entire life.
A determined and pissed off student