The age of adulthood in this country is legally 18, yet many see it more as twenty-five. Many professors see their job as tour guides through the university experience, helping students transition well between high school and the real world
I have heard people say, “These students have to understand that they are in the real world now, they need to cut the apron strings and grow up.”
But this isn’t the real world, this is college.
The majority of students at Cal State Fullerton live the real world everyday. The ‘90s college experience is not the same as many of our professors’ college experiences.
The university experience as a transition into the real world may happen at Stanford University or the University of Southern California campuses, but not on commuter campuses such as CSUF.
There is no average CSUF student— some are eighteen, some of fifty, some are fraternity hounds, yet many are married with children and a mortgage.
Professors comment every semester on the increasing lack of respect in classes, but this is a two way street and professors need to learn how to respect their students as equals and not as uneducated children.
Students and often parents are paying teachers to teach. Many students work two jobs in order to come to school to further their education and increase their chances of a better job. Students are the reason professors are here teaching or working on their new book— for without students there would be no need for educators.
To me, respect means holding the same standards for all— treating others in the way you would wish to be treated and treating people as equals.
Many times, teachers arrive in a classroom with the same excuses as their students. They arrive late because they couldn’t find a parking space, or their daughter was sick and had to go to the doctor or they worked late the previous day.
I have had professors who have assigned a chapter in the textbook as homework and then proceeded to practically read the chapter word for word to the class as a lecture. By re-reading to me the material that I have already read at home, the professor both shows disrespect for me as a responsible student, and disregards the cost of my time by wasting valuable lecture time on material I have already gone over.
And while we are talking about respect, why should a percentage of my grade be based on attendance? This is quite understandable in a seminar discussion class where the grade is based on participation and discussion but why should my grade be based on my ability to sit in a chair.
If I feel I have a grasp on the subject and I have to work that day or I have a cold, why should I have to attend class if from the syllabus I already know the homework, the class assignments and the reading. In fact, if I have read the material, feel confident about my performance on the test and the class is purely lecture based, why should I even bother attending at all when I could be studying for other classes or spending time with my children?
If I don’t show up for class and I fail the exam then that is my fault and I have wasted my own time and money. I should have been responsible enough at an age over 18, to have done the work required and turn up to class if I needed too.
If I stay away from class, I have not wasted the teacher’s time yet for some reason, teachers seem to believe that a lack of attendance connotes a lack of respect from that particular student or a lack of commitment to the class.
It is not the responsibility of the teacher to baby-sit me into an A grade; it is their responsibility to make those who do not understand, comprehend and it is that accomplishment which deserves respect.
A professor who can make a student actually understand the material and not just pass the test deserves incredible respect.
Unfortunately, though, there are few professors out there who actually take the time, or have the patience and the energy to influence students.
And regretfully these are students that professors are complaining about when it comes to disrespect in the classroom.