Can I get your honest opinions? (related to chemistry)

  1. I haven't said it here, but I absolutely DESPISE chemistry and the jerk instructors that "teach" it. So I'm going to vent a second and then ask you all for your ideas on how to handle the whole situation!

    We had lecture last week and on two different occasions, the prof couldn't answer the questions some of the students had b/c it wasn't in his notes! Now keep in mind, the questions we asked of this so - called PHD in chemistry, the ?s were in the back of our ELEMENTRY FUNDAMENTALS of chemistry book! He "would have to get back to us on that" What a damn joke! You mean that a PHD can't do this crap but WE have to? How much dang sense does that make? Anway....

    I have had high school chem so I don't *need* this class. Although I'm sure that the LITTLE bit that I am learning, will come in handy for organic chemistry that I take next semester or in the summer.

    Right now, I have to get a 69 on my test Thursday to conintinue passing. (This is a pass fail class only)
    Normally, that wouldn't sound like it'd be too hard, but keep in mind that I have yet to pass an exam over 70% as a grade in chemistry! I can do 90's in A&P and Medical terminology, but just can't seem to get a 75% on my tests in chem!

    I have 3 options! Which one would you go with?

    1. Keep plugging along and hope to high heaven that they pass me and I can get through this test and the comprehensive final. AND write a detailed letter to the chairman of chemistry and CC the dean of arts and sciences. And, Basically, taking a chance of an F showing up on my grades!

    2. Take this next test and if I pass, then stay in. If I fail or come lower than a 69, drop it and pay the fees back to pell grant b/c I dropped below full time status?

    3. Or get out now while I don't have any F's on my grades? And pay back close to 500 bucks.

    I'm just so lost and so mad! I can't imagine that I just "can't" get this! I'm sick to my stomach that a so-called professor can't answer our questions, I'm mad that all our test questions are TRICKS and not testing our knowledge on the material, I could go on and on about this class and how unfairly it's structured! I think I might write a letter to the chairman and dean anyway, but how do I discuss this with them without sounding like a whiney teenager that just doesn't want to study? I literally have studied my butt off for a stupid pass/fail class!

    I hope to God, I never ever come across these jerks in my career, I might have to give them an enema! :chuckle
    Last edit by javamom on Nov 9, '02
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   mmnursewannabee
    Hmm that is hard. It really depends on how much time you have to study for the next test. If you have enough time to go to a tutor, search online and form study groups, don't give up on this class yet. If you don't think you will make it, I would withdraw from it. I think that is better option than an F and you can't get out of paying anyway. Hope this helps.
  4. by   MK2002
    Given your circumstances, I would not recommend writing a letter. The instructor might have displayed some incompetence, but more would have to be known about the situation and how your classmates are doing. Unless many of them are willing to support your effort by contacting the department chairman, your complaint will be viewed as that of an isolated incident from a struggling student. In that case it would be a better idea to wait until the performance evaluation at the end of the course and then calmly express your concern with as many examples as possible.

    Regarding your 3 options, you should take the next exam and then act accordingly. If you really want to pass this class with a C or better, you will have to put in a huge effort between now and the end of the semester. Only you know yourself well enough to determine if making the effort and passing is a likely outcome. If it seems unlikely that you will pass, then withdraw from the course--but still attend class and take the final exam. No matter how emotionally difficult it is to attend class after withdrawing, you should continue to work on the last stage material so that you get some experience with it before you repeat the course.
  5. by   javamom
    Thanks for the responses. Thank goodness I just looked at my college catalog! *wiping brow* a pass/no credit class does NOT effect your gpa, so I'll be plugging along until the course ends and take my chances!

    MK2002- We have 80% of the class failing and this is "elementary chemistry" the prof has made it well known that he's not teaching b/c he wants to, he's teaching b/c he has to, in order to keep his research grant! I know many people have gone to the chairman and dean about these guys, so I know I'm not alone but it's just being 31, I feel I can very fairly, get a feel for an instructor and this guy is not doing his job. I'm paying him to teach me and can't understand how I have a 4.0 at the moment but can't grasp chemistry by his standards. It really irks me, if you can't tell :chuckle Thankfully, I don't "need" this course. It's just a prep for organic chemistry. But I can definatley use the background since I don't remember day one of high school chem! :chuckle

    Again, thanks so much for the input. I do appreciate it!

    Anyway, my dh is taking my boys away for the night and all day tomorrow, so I'll have a lot of time to study by myself! I have 3 exams this week and I definately need the alone time! LOL
  6. by   Mkue
    Stace, I PM'd you.
  7. by   emily_mom
    I was gonna tell you that at our school P/F classes don't count towards GPA, but I see that your does too.

    My instructor was a total goof like that. His tests were nothing like what he taught, and we all did poorly. For the final we were able to bring in a 6 x 9 notebook filled with anything we wanted for the final. I chopped up my book and filled that sucker to the brim... Everyone failed the test. It was like an advanced chem test that covered everything we didn't do. Jerk...

    I'm glad you decided to stick it out. Sometimes they will slide you through if they know you tried really hard, came to class, didn't slack, and were pretty close to the cutoff.

    Do they offer tutors at your tutor? I tutor A & P I and II, Micro, and lower level nursing classes. There's bound to be someone who doesn't suck at chem. I just don't happen to be one of them.

    Good luck to you!!!

    Kristy
  8. by   TeresaRN2b
    Stacey I would get down and find out about tutoring. I am sure they have some type of tutoring available that would help you pass the class. You still have time if you only need to pass to get some help and pass the class. Good luck!

    Teresa
  9. by   MRed94
    I must have had the same exact teacher for my chem class! This guy was supposedly a master's degree, and couldn't answer some of our questions. He would lecture for hours and then tell us we really didn't need to know that.

    grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    I managed to pass by doing all of the extra credit he assigned. Ended up with an A.??????????

    What a buncha jerks.

    M
  10. by   MK2002
    Just a note to all of you struggling with your Chemistry course. Not all Chemistry instructors/professors are like the ones you described. I completed three courses in Chemistry (long ago) at two universities. The professors were very knowledgeable. One of my professors had been teaching the freshman level University Chemistry class for many years in a large lecture hall. He could answer ANY question, provided very entertaining demonstrations, and gave exceptionally difficult exams. It was a nightmare trying to get through the course, not only because the instructor made it difficult, but also due to my weak background. I ended up taking a lower level Chemistry course. It all made sense when the depth and pace were not overwhelming.

    If you take enough classes, you will find instructor incompetence in any academic discipline. I estimate that over the years I have completed at least 200 semester hours, and I can tell you plenty of stories. During the time that I completed those courses I encountered several bad instructors and bad teaching assistants. Only in extreme circumstances were such individuals replaced during the semester. Whenever the instructor or teaching assistant was replaced during the semester practically the entire class or lecture hall of students visited the department to offer their complaint in a short period of time. Faculty changes are usually made after the semester is over in fairness to the instructor or assistant, and it is done after reading the performance evaluations.
  11. by   Angella Walker
    One thing you all have to understand is that these instructors don't have degrees in Education!!!!

    Part of my job is to get medical professionals to become proficient teachers. The example i like to use is

    Teaching a child how to read. It seems simple to us because we know how to read, letter/vowel sounds, the rules of grammar. To someone that is new to it, none of this stuff makes sense. Same way with PHD's they know this stuff front to back but to have an instructor explain pH or electron shells is hard for them.

    Trust me it is not fair at all. I am struggling with my Chem class this semester also. Just wanted you all to keep in mind that these people aren't teachers, they are experts in their fields. I remember a couple of lectures that i left completely dumbfounded and the instructor thinking that this was one of the best lectures he ever did!
  12. by   researchrabbit
    I have had instructors who wrote the textbook (not in chemistry, though) who could not adequately explain the tenets set out in the text.

    There is a lot of politics involved in getting (and keeping) a job as a professor, especially at the university level. The emphasis is NOT on teaching in most departments.

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