Is having a bad teacher REALLY an excuse?

<p>I know that in a couple of my classes that i did not do well in, I took alot of time out to go visit some of my professors and get extra help (since 99.9% of the engineering students at my school dont believe in study groups or view it as a sign of weakness). some of the professors were genuinely helpful and actually cared that I was struggling and wanted me to succeed while most others just couldnt care less and just told me to read the book and talk to the TA; these classes are the ones I barely passed if I did. The ones I actually received alot of help from the professors in, I did really well in. </p>

<p>what do you guys think (not of my situation) but in general, Is that a plausible excuse?</p>

<p>Depends. I had a chemistry professor who consistently made mistakes on timed exams. She'd discover and correct the mistakes during the exam, meaning we'd have to go back and fix the problems...which wasted time...Once or twice, fine. But I ended up having her all year long and there were mistakes on the exams all year long. Frustrating.</p>

<p>An excuse for what?</p>

<p>I (and probably almost everyone else) would agree with you that how much I learn in a class depends on the professor. So yes, a bad teacher might explain why you have gaps in knowledge in some fields.</p>

<p>However, I would not blame low grades on professors. (A) The entire class had to put up with the same professor, and there were most certainly students who did earn good grades. (B) Most students encounter both easy and harsh graders over time. Over the course of a college career, these effects should average out. I would never blame a low GPA on my professors.</p>

<p>Surely you have more resources available to you than the professors office hours?</p>

<p>I think it is a reasonable excuse... sometimes. Some professors show tough love and that's perfectly fine; sometimes you just have to step up. But I've definitely had professors and TAs that made things more difficult than they should have been--extremely unorganized, vague about the material, etc.</p>

<p>I had an economics class where the material on the midterms and the final was actually just never discussed in class. It was partly in the assigned reading, but the prof posted it by lecture (not according to the week), and two weeks afterwards. No one really knew what to study for the final and it was extremely stressful and unpleasant.</p>

<p>That's odd about the engineering students not having study groups. Engineering students are all about the study groups at my uni. They set up all over the engineering building and took over the second floor lounge in my building with their models (it's one of the few academic-designated buildings). :) Perhaps there are some groups hiding at your university?</p>

<p>EDIT: I should add that bell-curving grades is not the norm in Canada, and is forbidden at my university. "If you fail in Canada, you fail in real life," I guess. ;)</p>

<p>"Surely you have more resources available to you than the professors office hours?"</p>

<p>that wasnt the question</p>

<p>@ b@r!um Im talking about classes where the test averages are pretty low (like 60-70) range. I think it is simply because if the professor doesnt care if you learn the material or not and doesnt take the time to help if you ask (regardless of other resources), what real choice do you have other than dropping the class because you cant understand something. (again this isnt for me if thats what people are thinking, just talking about bad professors in general)</p>

<p>
[quote]
However, I would not blame low grades on professors. (A) The entire class had to put up with the same professor, and there were most certainly students who did earn good grades. (B) Most students encounter both easy and harsh graders over time. Over the course of a college career, these effects should average out. I would never blame a low GPA on my professors.

[/quote]

What if the professor fails half the class (and doesn't curve upward)?</p>

<p>I haven't had this situation, but I've heard stories.</p>

<p>If having a bad teacher doesn't count as an 'excuse' then why are people paying to go to school to have people teach them things in the first place?</p>

<p>I think it is. I had an English instructor who made mistakes grading every single one of my papers. I would e-mail her back and be like "Actually, what you are saying I need to say is said right here" or even worse "umm, I did include a citation for this source in my bibliography- it's the very first one you see!" If I hadn't have been careful and read back through her comments and taken the time to e-mailed her back, my grade would have seriously suffered.</p>

<p>Also there are sometimes teachers who just fail at being able to communicate well with students. Maybe they know their subject well or maybe they don't (which is sometimes not their fault since, for instance, in a lot of grade/high schools teachers are forced to switch subjects all the time and may not necessarily be teaching something they're too familiar with), but sometimes teachers just don't seem to connect well with students.
They don't really know how to teach us the information in a way that we'll really understand what's going on. Instead they just write it on a board, or on notes, and say "learn it!".</p>

<p>There are very few things that put you at such an incredible disadvantage, you stand no reasonable chance of overcoming it. Having a bad teacher is certainly not one of them.</p>

<p>That doesn't mean that "I would have had an easy A if my teacher were better" isn't a reasonable comment.</p>

<p>I think you may be damaged by the selfish behavior of your classmates, frankly. I have never heard of an engineering school that thrived without doing extensive groupwork and collaboration - that's what engineering in the real world is like, for crikes sake!</p>

<p>Try to find at least one or two friends, and work together through the crap you are facing - camaraderie is everything!</p>

<p>Who are you excusing your grade to? I wouldn't think an interviewer wants to hear it, but your parents might listen.</p>

<p>^ I agree very much... damn 10 char...</p>

<p>I agree with a previous poster that said "everyone has to deal with bad teachers, and your overall GPA is going to be no better/worse relative to others'" </p>

<p>I also agree with others who say "an interviewer doesn't want to hear it." </p>

<p>While it's no doubt that bad teachers are, well, bad, and poor teaching can be responsible for wasted tuition and gaps in your knowledge that you have to fill otherwise, unfortunately no-one likes a whiner who blames his/her condition in life/knowledge base/whatever on others, however true it might be. </p>

<p>Give them a bad review, send a formal letter of complaint to the department, and move on. If you feel there are gaps in your knowledge, read a textbook in your spare time ;0.</p>

<p>Sometimes the grade does still depend on the teacher. </p>

<p>I had a class last semester that I got a 3.0 in. We didn't agree on the definition of "culture" so she gave me a 2.0 on a paper worth 1/4 of my grade. The whole class hated her and there were only 3 4.0s in the class and 2 3.5s. The rest were 3.0 and lower. Other sections of the same class had barely anyone get below a 3.5. It was such bull.</p>

<p>It's one thing to have a bad instructor in an objective class, it's entirely different to have it in a class where the grade is based on entirely subjective essays.</p>

<p>
[quote]
However, I would not blame low grades on professors. (A) The entire class had to put up with the same professor, and there were most certainly students who did earn good grades. (B) Most students encounter both easy and harsh graders over time. Over the course of a college career, these effects should average out. I would never blame a low GPA on my professors.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>The problem with (A) is that in some classes there aren't that many people with good grades. There was a class at UCLA last quarter where one guy got a B+ - nobody else higher than a C (this made the front page of the campus newspaper).</p>

<p>I also had a class where I got a lower grade than I expected from the 2 midterms. Unless I did a lot worse on the final than I thought, it seems like there couldn't have been many A's in the class.</p>

<p>Erm... no. If you have a bad instructor in a class based entirely on essays, you can and should learn what they would like to write and write it. (Seriously, was sticking to your definition of culture worth that C?) In highly technical classes, a bad teacher can ask you to do things that you just absolutely have no idea how to do.</p>

<p>Yes, I think it's a viable 'excuse'. The problem is it's totally objective, and unless your professor has pages of bad repping on a site like reviewum, you're probably not going to get get far. </p>

<p>Unfortunately, egoic teachers do exist, I think by far the worst ones are the ones that just stare at you and make funny faces when you ask them questions.</p>

<p>I mean, it really just depends. Sometimes, they are teachers that you can please by telling them what they want to hear, but in the case of technical teachers you sometimes get thrown curveballs. </p>

<p>Last semester, I had a calc teacher that covered subjects in depth that no other class really bothered to, can't remember off the top of my head right now what they were, but yea.. it put a ton of stress on everyone that was unnecessary.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Erm... no. If you have a bad instructor in a class based entirely on essays, you can and should learn what they would like to write and write it. (Seriously, was sticking to your definition of culture worth that C?)

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Erm... she didn't tell us WHAT her definition of culture WAS until after we turned in the paper. Don't assume things.</p>

<p>My point about having other resources is that it is probably your responsibility to find a way to compensate or adapt to the professor, like any other professor, to find a way to succeed. In some cases that is harder to do than others and in some cases I think you could perhaps blame the professor, however, being unwilling to meet with you for office hours is not one of those cases. There are plenty of other ways to get help in a class besides that, if one is completely dependent on office hours to pass a course they probably have issues besides the quality of the professor.</p>