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Topic: Is anyone else losing students?  (Read 20715 times)

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Offline Arkcon

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Re: Is anyone else losing students?
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2008, 02:55:24 PM »
I'm glad you took some time to fill in what the subjects were, I was just warming up to ask you.  It is very funny to hear the point of view from the other side of the desk. 

If the only criticism you get is forcing people to read and study, I'd say you're doing a great job.  FWIW, when I was a college student, I tended to miss many classes as well.  I wasn't as obsessed as the average student to get waysted, get baked (those were not synonyms in my day,) or get laid, but I did have a pretty leisurely outlook to most of my days, call it simply, academic inertia.  A sort of finding the path of least resistance and lounging my way through it. 

A daily pop quiz may be very useful.  I think, just a few questions, based off the reading assignment for the day, could jolt a few more dummies into the -- "Oh, I have to read it first" camp.  An English Lit. professor did that.  He told us, on day one, that a dictionary often has all the answers you need, and we should just carry it and refer to it even for specialized info, for example topics from his class.  I never did, it was too heavy.  It took a half a dozen quizzes for me to figure out, he meant what he said, and it was absolutely true.

Any other comments from students?  Anything like the clarity of your speaking, or the usefulness of your particular powerpoints?  I once walked out on a class taught by some mumbling lady professor in a great big lecture hall.  She was slowly explaining, in her typical halting mumbling manner, the biochemistry of hemoglobin, and I had just had that topic completely explained in my previous biochemistry class.  I tried to sneak out, and she paused as I left.  I felt so bad that I'd never explained the whole situation to her.
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline SM30

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Re: Is anyone else losing students?
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2008, 03:18:38 PM »
I have a question. Why do you care? You show up and give whatever information is necessary. You're job isn't really to make sure they learn the subject. You can only give the information and answer questions. If students want to drop or not read or not do the assignment, thats their choice. Forcing them into pop quizzes or note taking or any other ridiculousness is useless.

Offline chrisbb

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Re: Is anyone else losing students?
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2008, 05:23:24 PM »
I have a question. Why do you care? You show up and give whatever information is necessary. You're job isn't really to make sure they learn the subject. You can only give the information and answer questions. If students want to drop or not read or not do the assignment, thats their choice. Forcing them into pop quizzes or note taking or any other ridiculousness is useless.
Very true.
Half the teachers i have now, could give a rats ass whether or not you go to class! After all in Canada, college isn't cheap! The teachers still get their paycheque whether or not you show up or not!  ;)

Offline Arkcon

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Re: Is anyone else losing students?
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2008, 05:35:42 PM »
Well, Valdorod: can come back in and give his point of view on the subject, but I don't think instructors are completely immune to being replaced if they can't keep the class full.  True enough, there seemed to be two extremes to the continue of college professors, dedicated educators, and royal aresholes, who seemed to be so dedicated to their own research, a confused student might as well crawl off and die instead of ask a question.  I only heard about the latter, they were never my instructor.
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline pantone159

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Re: Is anyone else losing students?
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2008, 07:46:16 PM »
The movie real genius also came to mind recently.  I showed up to class and up until five minutes after class started I only had one student.  Very depressing.  Half an hour later the class had filled up more, howerver, I think pop quizes are in order.

I had a prof give a pop quiz due to this once.  There were 3 questions:
1) What is your name
2) What is the name of the course
3) What is today's date

He was lenient, I had trouble with #3, but he allowed me to reference the newspapers laying around.

Offline Valdorod

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Re: Is anyone else losing students?
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2008, 12:55:38 PM »
Why do I care?

I do care, however, I have asked my self the question; Why should I care if the students do not?

I have always taken pride in my work, regardless of what it is.  Heck when I used to flip burgers at Jack in the box I would always make sure that my burgers and sandwiches were as close to the picture on the menu as possible, never squeezed, never old vegetables, etc.  If I cared about that, imagine about teaching.

Have you ever met a medical doctor, or a grad student, or even a professor and asked: How the heck did you ever get this far?  I like to think that those studets that do make it trough my courses actually learned a few critical thinking skills along the way, and that those that did not make it through, did so because of their lack of effort and not because of my deficiencies in teaching.

I am not goint to embelish and tell you a story about preparing the future generation.  I think it is more an issue of being selfish and prideful.  I would like to be the one that students sign up for my classes because rumor has it that they are goint to learn and not the one that is easy to pass, or do not sign up for his class because he is hard as nails and you won't learn a thing.

Nonetheless, I do feel and have felt that if the students are not putting in their time why should I.  The draw back is that it becomes a cycle, they come in unmotivated, I am unwilling to spend time motivating them, and it becomes unbearable.  I'va had a couple of classes where I have taken that approach, where I just gave up on them, and well, they in turn give up on me.  The couple of times that is has happened, I could not wait for the hour and a half to finish, then I could not wait for the semester to finish.  I do not wish to fall back into that, even though I do still do it on ocassion.

Last semester, I was conversing with a couple of colleagues about one of my classes in which no one had managed to earn an A average at the midterm point, when the previous summer, I had a very talented class in which all 26 students were passing and more than half had A's or B's.  Both classes were taught from the same set of notes, materials, powerpoints etc.  I mentioned that I felt as their failure was a reflection on my teaching.  However, (like LQ43) they pointed out that we teach at a CC, where many of the students do not have the background to be taking chemistry; their math is barely at an algebra level, and being a southern border town, many of the students are just learning english, thus language also becomes an issue, and that I should not take their failure as my failure.

Offline LQ43

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Re: Is anyone else losing students?
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2008, 11:24:22 PM »
I think every teacher goes through this cycle at some point in their teaching career and probably more than once. Its the chicken and egg question: should students come to class already motivated or is it the teacher's job to motivate the student? How you answer that depends on your own teaching philosophy.

It's easy to teach motivated students and there is satisfaction because its evident that they are learning the material. However these students would probably learn the material from just reading the textbook or with any teaching method and either would have the background skills already or would seek resources to help them learn it. These students will learn but maybe not because of the teacher.

But there is also great satisfaction in reaching out to students who come to class not caring a bit about school or chemistry but who can be just as bright and motivated as the ones above. Then because how you taught a concept and showed every step along the way or connected it to real life or whatever cool thing you did in class turned the light bulb on for them. And many students do well when they feel that the teacher cares that they are learning and maybe why they are at a CC instead of a big university (okay cheap tuition is the other reason). These students will learn BECAUSE of the teacher.

But first you have to get them to come to class so what to do.

Demos are always good and its a plus if you're half-pyromaniac.

Pop quizzes would probably make them more resentful and not motivated in a good way. At least tell them about the quizzes so they can have a chance to pass them. In class activities where they get points just for showing how they solved a problem can help. Basically have points available to them on a weekly basis.

Yes it sounds like high school and alot more work than you think you should have to do at the college level but a CC is that halfway point and maybe for some why they chose it over the big schools.
 And if they do well with all work you did for them I think you can claim their success as your success.

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