By Sabanrab Bocaj
One of the worst things that teachers can do for students is to help them. The college campus is supposed to be a place that encourages students to learn and engage with material and be able to collaborate with faculty and peers in exploration, research and ideas. The university should be an open environment to encourage thought and lifelong learning, so that students can seek careers that will fulfill their aspirations and make a positive difference in the world. It is for this reason that teachers should not be helpful to their students.
The most important life-shaping events are hardships, so students should not get help from their teachers. Just like the Donner Party on the journey to California, students today have to face adversity in order to learn what they are capable of doing. College professors should not just be unhelpful to their students; they should actively make things harder on them.
It is the worst when teachers have reasonable expectations of their students. It is better that students prove themselves by living up to unreasonable expectations rather than teachers understanding that many students learn in different ways and at different speeds; after all, that’s the real world.
It is insulting when teachers treat students like they are human beings just trying to get by instead of professionals in the field of their study who already know everything about the subject of the class.
Professors should put emphasis on being vague during lectures and only giving partial or irrelevant information. Students should have to delve into the raw being of the true self to achieve enlightenment, putting mind over matter to conquer hardship, just like travelers on the Oregon Trail. A teacher should also be pedantic and condescending about unrelated things.
It is distasteful when laboratory or reading assignments are given within context or with a clear connection to the class topic. The reading should be from an overpriced poorly written textbook and require several add-on costs to complete assignments. If there is group work, it should be that nobody understands the material and therefore cannot help anyone else in their group. Thus, in mutual suffering, students will be drawn together in unity, fraternity and equality, like the French in 1789.
While some students will need the help of tutors or recitation sessions, the teacher should make sure that these are absolutely necessary in order to understand anything taught in class. Homework should always have unclear goals and deadlines should always be during tests and breaks. Teachers should ideally include material on the exams which was not covered in class since students should be expected to know what kinds of things they should have been reading up on.
This will pressure students to delve deep into the psyche and discover means to predict the future and use the power of the mind to make all knowledge known unto them.
It is churlish when grading assignments and exams takes into account the level of ability of students or how well the expectations were communicated. Who even likes grade curves? They just give a handout to students who did not deserve. This practically tells students it is OK to make mistakes.
Re-grades are just silly, since obviously the grader’s point of view is most important. Partial credit is ridiculous, since in the real world, you cannot build half a car and expect to make a living. Feedback should be vague comments and scribbles, so students will have to use deep introspection to find out what they did wrong.
Case Western Reserve University is currently rife with teachers who are genuinely interested in helping students learn be successful in their college careers, but nowadays, you can still find golden examples of teachers who make their classes unnecessarily stressful. It is good to see that students are being faced with some hardship.
Adversity leads to success, after all, just like the Roman slaves at the Coliseum in the good old days.