Failure to connect with students hinders efforts to learn

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One student believes tenure encourages some teachers “to go through the motions” in the classroom.

Thomas Macias

Not connecting with students causes instructors to be ineffective — at least in the view of two students interviewed during the first week of classes.

Fine arts sophomore Nikketa Burgess spoke of an art teacher whom she described as being out of touch with his students.

The instructor fell asleep in class during presentations, frequently lost graded work and did not track attendance, but also provided an A to all students.

 Burgess remarked that the instructor had lost sight of the fact many students undertook a course of instruction for reasons other than to receive a particular letter grade, such as to acquire a set of skills.

She also mentioned the frustration that resulted from students who were diligent see others awarded the same grades for lesser quality work.

Burgess believes some teachers become jaded.

“I come from a family of teachers,” she said. “After a time, an instructor can lose sight of why they first wanted to teach.” 

Burgess believes an instructor who has been granted tenure may be especially susceptible to simply going “through the motions” in the classroom.

 “Their job is secure; they no longer have to be effective,” she said.

For real estate freshman Adrian Ramirez, instructor disconnection showed when a teacher apparently no longer recalled experiences as a student.

Ramirez mentioned a math instructor who covered his material in an excessively rapid fashion.

While perhaps not conscious that he was doing so, the instructor did not realize that his students were not yet experts on the subject.

Ramirez said the instructor responded only to certain cues, such as when multiple students repeatedly asked for clarification on the same material.

Ramirez cited another example of instructor disconnection, this time shown through inflexibility and heavy-handedness.

Ramirez described an English class with submission deadlines posted on Canvas.

Although already communicated electronically, the course instructor began a practice of verbally changing due dates in class.

This contradictory information resulted in confusion and in late assignment submissions. 

Ramirez said the instructor showed no awareness that Canvas was recognized by students as the go-to source of such information. 

When informed of such, the instructor declined to modify any impacted grades or to keep to the published schedule.


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