Hey Professor, turn it down a notch

Junette Reyes/Staff Writer

Most of us here at Florida International University are well beyond our high school years and yet it often feels as though we are being treated like high school students in the ways that some professors, in their frustration with class participation or a lack thereof, are taking a disciplinary approach in straightening them out.

The interaction between student and professor ends up with the students feeling like bumbling five-year-olds. These professors feel compelled to take it upon themselves to make sure we participate in class and keep up with our assignments when, ultimately, it’s every student’s duty to do it for themselves.

This disciplinarian’s approach can be seen with acts as simple as implementing dire consequences for even a small number of absences, scolding or punishing an entire class as a result of the laziness or disinterest of a few.

In the case of taking attendance, it should be used only to allow the teacher to consider the student’s effort in the class and, hopefully, factor it into their grade. As tedious as attending class might sometimes be, it is something we all should do because it is our responsibility to do so and not because it reflects a percentage of our grade.

Professors might scold or punish an entire class, perhaps thinking that the students can be shamed into applying themselves; however, this can turn out to be more detrimental to students because, more importantly than shaming the students who do no work, it steals class time from those who do–from the students who, even if they aren’t interested in the subject, dedicate themselves nonetheless.

It is admirable that some professors are still so concerned about our educations as to apply consequences for not taking every advantage to learn, but I often find myself wondering if this is really the most advantageous approach. The years before college are presumably the time for students to not only acknowledge but hone their sense of responsibility, with the ever-present teachers assisting them through this process of growth.

Granted, not all students pass through this stage successfully; many will continue to refuse certain responsibilities. Still, if the disciplinary approach did not sculpt the careless student into an assiduous one in high school, who is to say it will work this late in the game?

It is inevitably up to us whether we succeed as students or not.


1 Comment on "Hey Professor, turn it down a notch"

  1. Granted it’s up to students to fulfill their obligations, but what would you have a professor do in the case of numerous and frequent instances of students not participating in classes where participation is mandatory, or students not doing their work? As a professor, I can’t give the impression that I’m okay with students not doing what they’re supposed to (especially because I’m NOT okay with it). You don’t offer a clear alternative aside from “students should take personal responsibility.”

    I’m confused by your editorial, particularly the mixed message of encouraging students to take personal responsibility and the seeming counter-message of not wanting professors to do anything about it when they don’t.

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