Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sometimes The Ones Who Care The Most Look Like The Most Heartless

A college professor met his freshman class and gave them a pretty harsh lecture about the realities of college versus high school.  He made a special effort to point out his pay check did not depend on their success or failure and their success was up to them alone.

Speaking as an adjunct who has been teaching in a junior college I concur totally with his sentiments. Even as recently as ten years ago, most students came to college knowing something.  They bought books, did homework, attended classes and studied.  They knew college was a privilege, not a right and they did what they had to do to succeed or dropped out.

Ten years ago high schools were different.  There were no credit recovery programs or three week summer school classes.  There was no ranking of teachers based on their students passing rate.  If a student earned a high school diploma he knew something.  Things are different today.  Teachers are under extreme pressure to pass everyone.  A teacher I know was reprimanded because 4 out of 30 students in her class failed the Geometry Regents last year.  Another was rated ineffective because she failed to call on 2 out of 29 students during an observation.  Teachers are held accountable for attendance, lateness and a million other things.  They have to pass kids if they want to keep their jobs.

The professor was right on target.  The students have to know they can't wait until Thanksgiving to start studying.  They have to know every grade from the beginning counts.  There is no extra credit or second, third, tenth chances.

Anyone who has not  taught college freshman for years might think this professor is heartless, but I disagree.  He is laying the foundation for success.  If he didn't care, he wouldn't say all of this.  His message should be spread to every freshman everywhere.

1 comment:

Bronx ATR said...

When I first read that professor's comments in The Times a few weeks ago, I emailed the article to all my friends (after applauding). The degree to which students are coddled (yes, coddled) in public high schools is appalling. The schools are not the only ones to blame. Most of us spoil our children. This is to our students and children's detriment. When they go out into society they will learn some very hard lessons.