Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First day of classes

Today was my first official day of classes, and already I know which professors I love and which I hate.

Unfortunately, the professor I hate (let's call him "Dr. Jerk") teaches two very important and difficult classes, with bushels of assigned reading. And this is why I hate him. Not because he assigned tons of reading, but because he makes us work hard just to access it.

Many of our assigned readings are journal articles. Which Dr. Jerk has obviously read, downloaded, etc. But instead of creating a webpage with links to PDFs of the articles -- as did ALL of the professors in my master's program at another school -- Dr. Jerk is forcing us to look up all of the articles in online databases and download them individually. My home internet access doesn't enable me to do this; dial-up is too slow to download multi-MB files. I'll have to download the articles at school and e-mail them to myself.

This is rude, inconsiderate, a COMPLETE waste of our time, and in my view, unprofessional. Our day started with a group meeting at which we were informed that our professors are training us to be their colleagues. Dr. Jerk's behavior is not collegial.

It's funny -- during class today, he ripped on medical doctors by saying that they don't like it when patients ask them questions. But he himself *hates* it when we ask questions, and doesn't make it easy for us. That would involve interrupting his flow of thought. One of my classmates pointed out that he put three of his own journal articles on the syllabus, likely a reflection of his massive ego. (That's the fun part of going to school with psychology students; we tend to deconstruct everyone's behavior.)

So for four hours a day, I'm stuck with Dr. Jerk. Fortunately, I also get to revel in two hours with Dr. Adorable. He's teaching a much more subjective course -- part history, part psychotherapeutic modalities, part philosophy, and a lot of our own reaction to it all. I get the feeling that we can write almost anything in our papers, as long as we write coherently and convincingly.

Dr. Adorable is the polar opposite of Dr. Jerk. He goes out of his way to let us ask questions, and tries hard to be amusing. Even when he has to state something hardnosed -- for example, no gum-chewing during class -- he dips his chin a bit, glances shyly around the room, and giggles. I'm wistful that his research interests don't match mine, because I think he'd be an awesome dissertation advisor.

I'm just hoping that Dr. Jerk turns out to be like the jerky professors I endured in my master's program. They both seemed to take pride in not engaging with students, and not being nice or supportive. But they both gave me very fair grades -- at least I got the grade I thought I deserved. I hope Dr. Jerk doesn't have to like a student in order to recognize that her work is excellent.
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"

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