A sophomore recounted a professor requesting a student to stop asking questions.
Students at this college shared their frustrations with various teaching styles, saying poor communication, out-of-date syllabuses and overfilled lectures can hinder students’ success.
Ranger reporters fanned out across campus during the first week of classes and asked students at random what practices they did not like teachers to use.
Kinesiology freshman Mario Garza said all four of his professors did not go into depth when explaining criteria to the class on the first day.
“In all four of my classes, they didn’t go to the bottom of the syllabus. They only went half way down and didn’t break down the information,” Garza said.
Garza said it’s ineffective because it could lead to missed information.
Speech communication sophomore Nicholas Delaunay, who has been a student here since 2015, said he doesn’t like professors who don’t keep up to date with Canvas, the college’s learning management system.
Economic sophomore Christopher Robles came across a difficult calculus professor.
Most math classes at this college use a website called MathLab for homework assignments.
Robles said MathLab also has textbooks and useful tips for assignments.
“My professor relied strictly on MathLab to teach us our math work,” he said. “She did not lecture during class time or discuss the material that was going to be covered in class. She would answer any questions we had for her, but that is all.”
Because this teacher did not teach the material or help students, he dropped the course.
Music freshman Aliesha Skipping said she didn’t like teachers to give a prompt on an assignment without enough explanation on that assignment.
She said, however, she is only in her second semester at this college and was fortunate enough to have good teachers so far.
Social work sophomore Emily Cupp did not like it when her math professor told students to ask questions during class, but when a student asked a question, he skipped over it or did not answer.
“If a student asks a question, professors should respond in a way the student understands,” Cupp said.
She recalled a situation where instead of giving the student the correct answer, the answer he gave made the student more confused.
Liberal arts freshman Leah Berry, who is attending this college for the first time, noticed that her photography and American Sign Language teachers didn’t allow for adequate question-and-answer time.
“They moved quickly through the information and didn’t open up for questions,” she said.
Berry also noted, “It is important for students to feel confident in the subject. If they don’t feel comfortable asking questions or aren’t given time to ask questions, their grade could be hindered.”
For liberal arts freshman Berlynn Davila, clarity was a major issue during an algebra class.
“He didn’t give us much detail or basic answers,” she said. “He sent us to do online work but wouldn’t specify if we actually had to do it. We asked him and he said we didn’t have to, but if we didn’t, it would affect our grade.”
These types of unclear, back-and-forth answers don’t “allow for proper planning” and could cause the students to fall behind, she said.
Liberal arts sophomore Alisa Rios-Carroll grinned as she recalled the times some professors have used some ineffective practices.
She gave an example of a history professor.
“He went way too fast through lectures, often went off topic and then tested us on lecture and book-based material without even specifying what to focus on,” she said. “The students who asked questions were shut down, and he discouraged the rest who didn’t.
“One time he seriously told a student, ‘Will you stop asking questions?’ leaving the whole class baffled.”
Liberal arts freshman Shelby Fletcher explained her first-year Spanish professor expected students to learn the way he had learned the foreign language at their age.
Even though she said the professor was a good teacher, he did not teach to students’ different learning styles.
“Students don’t learn the same way as others,” she said.
For example, she said he assigned too many vocabulary words at once. When students protested that it was too many, he said he had been able to learn that many when he was in college.
Nursing education sophomore Jasmine Mandel said she has not had teachers she considers ineffective.
Mandel said some teachers act annoyed when students ask specific questions about the subject, “which makes it hard for any student to learn,” she said.
She said this makes students not want to attend class, she said.
Mandel also said teachers should not take too long to respond to emails.
Some students find they’re getting too much of a good thing.
Taylor Tirritilli, a freshman studying audio engineering, had plenty of praise for psychology Professor Dehlia Wallis, but he explained that the amount of material covered made it difficult to absorb.
The class was an hour and 20 minutes, he said.
“The only solution I can think of would be giving her a three-hour class,” he offered.
Mortuary science freshman Adreana Pescador said she found it difficult to understand class assignments because her education professor lacked organization skills.
Pescador said the professor would rush through the lectures, spoke more than was necessary and would later add more information on topics they had already finished discussing.
Nicholas Long, a senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio studying math here, said disorganization got in the way of his learning, especially from his math teachers.
“You’ll get that one teacher that, like, will say that something’s due on Monday. All of a sudden it’s not really due on that day, it’s, like, due really when you don’t expect it,” he said.
Social work freshman Melissa Ordones said she didn’t feel prepared when an education teacher gave a quiz or a test without adequate time to learn the material.
“He would put the assignment or reading up online to prepare for the next class the few days before it was due for the test,” she said. “Preparing students ahead of time to succeed in class would be more helpful.”
Long also said he had one teacher he considered “smelly.”
“I’m always in the back of the room, so like, I’m not that close to the teacher to where I can really pick up their scent. That way, you avoid the smell and get to see the whole classroom,” he said.
Mortuary science freshman Jana Shakesnider said she had a professor who was elderly and didn’t have much of a filter on his political views.
She said the professor “came across as racist and wasn’t very careful with the words he chose to express his views on life.”
She did not want to publish the subject he taught to shield his identity.
Shakesnider also said she had another class in which she performed well with A’s on assignments and outstanding attendance.
However, she failed to turn in one assignment causing her to receive a F with no chance to make up the assignment. The teacher showed no compassion or empathy for the fact that she had a great performance throughout the entire class, she said.
She passed but with a lower grade than she believed she deserved.
“Sometimes, unexpected things in life happen, and teachers should be a little more understanding toward that,” she said.
Psychology sophomore Helios Hilario shared his experience with a soft-spoken geography teacher.
“He was one of the few available — an older gentleman who was very quiet,” he said. “He wore a microphone around his neck, and even then you could hardly hear him.”
The professor’s voice was broadcast through a speaker at the front of class. But speech troubles weren’t the only issues Hilario had with his former professor.
“The lectures weren’t engaging. He would have us study all the material before coming into class, only to go over it again, reading directly off slides.”
Pre-nursing sophomore Matthew Menchaca has just started his first semester at the Alamo Colleges, and already he is intimidated by his Chemistry 2 professor.
“Maybe it’s just his arrogance,” he said. “Usually all other professors are positive and tell you you’ll do well as long as you put in the work.”
He said this professor indicated it would be impossible to make an A.
“To prove it, he already assigned five assignments due by next week,” he said.
Contributors to this story are Deandra Gonzalez, Blanca Granados, Marielena Guajardo, Andrea Moreno, Jeff Riley, Christy Romero, Alexis Terrazas, Tristan Weaver, Kenneth L. Williams and Maya R. Williams.