Thursday, May 20, 2010

the worst semester of my life

UPDATED NOTE: ANONYMOUS FORMSPRING QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS POST WILL NOT BE ANSWERED. 

I've been thinking a lot about karma lately. So I wonder what's in store for a certain professor, that I'll leave nameless for now, who threatened to blacklist a group of young women. Early in the last semester of my college education, I was told a story by a friend. This friend had a blog and every new school year wrote a post on her classes and professors. Let's just say our professor wasn't too thrilled what she had to say about him. I don't know the full words, but I know something along the lines "you either love him or hate him" was written. He approached her, told her to straighten up and threatened to blacklist her in the community if she didn't. He's the head boss at his own firm in town and I'm sure he'd have no problem doing just that.

Sometimes I wondered if he just started teaching to gain power and make more contacts along the way. Teaching never seemed to be the real goal. The opportunity to possibly gain new clients and making sure he looked good to people in high positions was all that seemed to matter. Which is why he told us on day one there would be no going to the dean if we had any problems. Early in the semester I didn't find this strange. I simply thought he'd rather us tell our problems to his face, instead of running to the dean. Which we would have, if we weren't so terrified.

This was his first semester teaching. From day one, I felt uncomfortable. I don't know what it was. But it was enough to make me sick driving to class everyday and dread walking through the classroom door. Some days would be fine. Other days, not so much. Not knowing what the day would hold gave me anxiety, as did checking my email at night. My parents could tell you I was always stressed. He was the type of person that seemed to belittle your very existence, unless he loved you. If he didn't, you were out of luck. I think I was somewhere in the middle on his radar. Although I'm sure if he ever read this, which is a very high possibility, I wouldn't rank so high. In fact, I'm sure I can expect an email, with a threat telling me to straighten up or else. Or that this is all merely a "misjudgment on my part."


twinkle, twinkle little macbook

I'm ready for that if it's to come. Truth is, he has no right to do such a thing. In the same way he had no right to email a student telling her to have a drink before presentations to "calm her nerves" or "loosen up." Presentations that were to be held in front of fellow students, professors and the assistant dean. I'm pretty sure drinking on campus is illegal. Yeah, it is. And threatening more students on the last day of class, is not cool. Especially after, the night before, you decide to change their entire presentation because you suddenly decided you didn't like it. Neither is telling students what you don't like about them. "You never know when to shut your mouth," for example. I'm also told the first time he threatened my friend he said he'd never actually blacklist her, merely that he could. Because, didn't I tell you, he's not "that type of guy." In fact, he's a real humble guy. Egotistically humble, that is. If you have to remind someone how humble you are every chance you get, you're not really that humble.

Anyway, why did I decide to post this entry now, after I've already graduated? Well for one thing, I wanted to wait until grades were in to post how I really felt. And second, I've been wanting to blog about this for quite some time. If you read above, you know why I didn't blog about it sooner. Students have gone forward and spoken out about this entire semester, to my knowledge. But I doubt anything will be done. He's on the board of directors, or something or other, at the college. If I were the one with the email about taking a drink before presentations, I'd have already sent it to the papers. Men with power simply shouldn't be given the opportunity to threaten young women. At the very least, they shouldn't teach. ★

Have you ever been in this sort of situation, readers? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

14 comments :

  1. My 25 year old sister is dyslexic, and when she was a first year student at university (the one which I am attending now) she was told by a history lecturer that "people like her" should not be allowed to go to university, because of her disability. The university had to hire an external grader to mark her assignments and exams, he was so biased towards her. Yet he still lectures.

    He is teaching me currently, and I can't say I admire him as a person... Of course I felt this way before I even met because of what happened to my sister, but this was escalated when he gave his well known and controversial lecture on Mormonism, blatantly disregarding and making fun of the religion and the people that follow it. I'm not a religious person but I was offended and I'm shocked my university hasn't done anything about it, or him.

    My sister did incredibly well at university, got great grades and is now a librarian at a school for blind children, which I think is pretty impressive.

    I think "people like" my lecturer or your professor should not be allowed to teach. I really hope things change.

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  2. ugh. that's so awful :( people shouldn't use their power for bad things. and yes, i do believe in karma.. it goes around faster than what some people might think.

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  3. karma is a scary thing to mess with. it really is.

    this is so awful, sweetie. i hope somehow, something is done, and that he gets what he deserves. this beyond wrong and i hope one day soon he is held accountable for his disgusting actions.

    i was threatened by a professor once, he was so mean and so out of line. it definitely made me upset, i remember shaking after it happened. and then, i just got ANGRY. really, really angry. how dare he speak to me like and treat me with such disrespect! who does he think he is? i complained to the department and told them everything that happened, and other students came forward saying they experienced the same thing. thankfully, he never came back to teach after that.

    don't be afraid, hun. don't give him that satisfaction, as hard as it is. stand tall and strong in your convictions, and maybe the right person will read this and have the authority to do something about it... you never know. <3

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  4. Ugh, that professor sounds like an awesome guy...NOT. Do you guys have the end of semester anonymous evaluations? We do that and you can basically tell the school how you feel about teachers anonymously. If you have to do something like that, I'd definitely give him a bad rating!

    I feel really lucky my professors seemed to be normal, that guy crosses the line!

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  5. I've always believed in Karma, and I'm sure that professor will have it coming to him. Don't worry too much dear, I really hope you'll feel better <3

    Btw I've just discovered your blog and it's so lovely. Followed <3

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  6. Well, there are good and bad teachers everywhere. I got some of those like yours in school and in university as well. Teaching should be only for people who love and to know how to teach, because is in the class we grow up as individuals and develop our personality too. We spend most of our life till our 20's in a classroom, so it should be imperative that we have good people to give their example and to be passionate about what they are teaching. Hope the karma really exists...

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  7. wow krissie. i'm stunned. :(

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  8. I'm so sorry that you and your friends had to go through that. It's horrible when people you are supposed to be able to look up and respect are just so abusive of their position and abusive towards their students. If I'd gotten that email I definitely would have gone to the dean. Usually if someone tells you not to bother telling on them it's because they want to intimidate you into not telling, not because they won't actually get into trouble. But that's just my experience.

    And like Lindsey, at my university there were end of the semester evaluations for every class. They were completely anonymous and you could let the school know exactly what you did and did not like about the class.

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  9. Oh man that really sucks. I'm sorry you and your friends had to go to that. My husband dealt with the same thing in his grad studies. One of his teachers had it out for him since day one for no reason and it resulting in her really ruining his overall GPA.

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  10. That professor really does not sound very pleasant. It's really just such a shame when these rather incompetent teachers have all this control and power that they use and abuse. Yeah, I agree with the people able the teacher evaluation thing, if those are available to do! Good luck.

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  11. The good thing is that it is over and you survived that torture... it is a learning experience and it will make you stronger. Some people are mean like that and they are obsessed with power. I believe in karma... let that take care of him. Have a great weekend! xoxo

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  12. A teacher in elementary school gave me bad marks and put me down a lot. My parents went to talk to her and she said she gave me mad marks becuase I didn't have enough friends. She tried to push the friends I did have away from me. She was horrible. I was crying all the time. She treated me like shit. I was the lowest of the low. She didn't let me do certain projects for stupid reasosn so she could give me bad marks. It was horrible. She's in a mental hospital now. Karma works in weird ways.

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  13. you went to Paris last summer!!!???? did you ever post about it? I would love to see pictures you took!

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  14. It's always awful when this happens.

    I had a teacher some years ago, and she was absolutely horrible. She was extremely cruel to everyone for no reason, and to me especially. I was only 12 at the time. I remember I would raise my hand, and would be the only one doing so, and she would say, "Does ANYONE know the answer? Hmm, no one? Okay, I'll move on then." I sat in the second row, and she looked right at me. She made me cry several times over minor transgressions, and would insult me routinely. Going to her class every day made me so miserable. She always gave me worse grades than my friends, even if my work was better than theirs. The good news I wasn't alone, and my classmates - around 25 of them - went to the guidance counselors at school and complained. Unfortunately, all they did was warn her, and I saw no real change in her. She died a couple of years ago of cancer.

    You never do forget horrible teachers like that, no matter how young or old you are. It's very sad when teachers abuse their power like that, it really is, especially on impressionable young students. But I'm glad you spoke out against this kind of intolerable cruelty - I never would have back in those days. You're braver than I am! And as others said, it is a learning experience. Not a fun one, but a learning experience just the same. I hope something is done about this man, I really do. xx

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