Overheard in the hallway during break…

I don’t always get to hear what the folks in my classes are talking about during break, but I did recently when I caught snatches of what they were saying about various faculty they’d encountered… so I’m passing along today some of the things I heard that fell into the ‘man, that annoys me’ category —

“Why did she bother writing a syllabus when she didn’t stick to it anyway and didn’t let us know what she was changing?… and I must have been sleeping in the 5th week or something when she added that big final assignment that kinda came out of nowhere.”

“I wish I would have taken advantage of his invitation… really a suggestion.. to hand in drafts; it would have made getting to the end a lot less difficult and anxiety producing. I think I was afraid.. or was it lazy? I don’t know.. but it’s a good idea I wish more instructors would offer from the beginning of a course.”

” Someday, maybe just maybe, a teacher will let me know WHY we’re doing what we’re doing in class. It would be nice to be offered some explanation or rationale for this and that in a seminar.”

“If my clients heard me say “I’m new, so excuse my ineptness” or “My company made me say this, don’t blame me” I’d probably forego my next raise… maybe even my next paycheck! C’mon.. no excuses.”

“I thought the readings were lightweight… until we really got into discussions about them. That made it a lot easier to get into some of the bigger pieces. And I had one teacher who assigned some heavy duty stuff but I don’t think I had a clue what it was about or why I was reading it. But I couldn’t admit that to her… or myself! And, while I’m at it, I didn’t know why we were reading something from 25 years ago… there’s got to be a reason but I’ll be darned if I can figure it out by myself.”

“Did I pay for other students to stand up and deliver uninteresting presentations so the teacher can say we did collaborative learning?”

“I don’t get the relationship – or lack of it – between the criteria in the syllabus and the grade. I think I should have gotten a better one. I didn’t see or hear anything from him about 10 pages not being enough. Don’t you think it’s fair for teachers to stick by what they say is worth a B… or a C, for that matter? I guess they have the power to give any grade they want for whatever reasons.”

I thought I heard some other comments but I retreated to my classroom… knowing at least one of these referred to me but wondering how many more?

If you’re a teacher, any thing here hit home? If you’re a student… anything you’d like to add under the umbrella of, ‘man.. that annoys me?!’

m fiddler


3 Responses to Overheard in the hallway during break…

  1. Pamela Meyer says:

    Thanks for posting these, Morry!

    It’s a great reminder how easily we, as instructors/facilitators, can get caught up in our own worlds and lose track of the needs of the students. While I believe there is and should be some room to engage adults as collaborators in their learning experience and evolve the syllabus to meet the energy and needs of the students, we need to be conscious of what this can feel like from the learners’ perspective. Consistency and clarity go a long way, as well as understanding the complexity of our students’ lives. It reinforces for me the need to co-create the “holding space” that is both supportive and challenging. There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for this, and something we need to constantly work toward. Humbling stuff.

  2. Terri says:

    The one I love is: She didn’t teach me a thing …..I learned it all myself! She didn’t show me how to do anything ….I had to find my own way.

  3. Maggie Rouman says:

    I agree with the comment: “we need to be conscious of what this can feel like from the learners’ perspective”. I am an educator and a MAAPS student. Even though I understand the instructor’s point of view, as a MAAPS student, I have probably said some of the comments that were overheard. Being in the role of “student” has helped me understand my own students’ point of view. I’ve come to realize that the single most important thing an instructor can do is to prepare a comfortable environment for the student. I keep reminding myself everyday that if my students’ basic needs aren’t met and/or they feel threatened, their brains will not be available to learn.

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