Need some guidance...

  1. Just looking for some opinions and advice on how to handle this instructor. I'm sorry in advance this is a looooong post.

    My class is currently stuck with an instructor who basically doesn't teach. We are five weeks into the semester and we've had one lecture that consisted of her just reading her outline aloud (which was basically just bullet points, not detailed at all), another lecture that had us working in groups but with very little direction so was a complete waste of time, another that we watched a video in, and then she had STUDENTS teach a concept to the class.

    It's frustrating because I've had to approach this whole class as if it's independent learning. I bought an extra 6 books so that I could supplement my knowledge and learn things on my own. But then when I have questions or don't understand something, I ask them in class and I'm told "you're trying to be too detailed" or "you don't need to know that". But I'm someone who wants to UNDERSTAND concepts, to truly see how the pieces go together, not just memorize random facts. And she just won't ever tell us the "why" or the "how" of these disease processes, so it's very difficult to reach that level of understanding.

    And in addition to that, we have no syllabus of reading assignments for the semester. She basically said she didn't want us to read ahead, so she sends out reading assigments only days before class or sometimes even the night before class. That doesn't give me enough time to get it done! I need a full week's notice to properly get my reading done. She can't work the computer half the time in class, so we don't get to see the powerpoints she apparently has. AND we had a test a week ago and guess what her method of distributing the grades was? We had to wait in line outside her office to get them one by one. That wouldn't have been so bad if she would have just simply handed us our grade and moved on, but she met with each student (of 50 students) for anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Some students said it took so long because she hadn't finished grading their test so they had to sit there and wait while she graded it. AND she is handing back an essay as well that we each have to re-write and is due next week, so we really needed to meet with her to get our essay so we knew what corrections to make. I was in line for an hour and a half to receive my test grade and essay (which made me late for work) when she walked out of her office saying she had to leave (for a hair appointment!!).

    I guess my frustration just reached it's peak at that moment because I basically said to her that I didn't think it was appropriate to have us waiting for an hour and a half to receive these things, and then just to tell us that she had to leave and we'd have to come back later to get our grades and essays. Especially since I live 80 miles away and won't be on campus until the next class! I said that I think it's unfair some students had received their test/essays whereas others would have to wait until another day. If you're going to distribute test results or an assignment, everyone should have the right to receive it at the same time! Not wait another day! I just don't understand why this couldn't have been done in a more efficient manner.

    She wasn't understanding at all, she just talked about how our class gets too stressed out and how she bends over backward for us (which is just crazy). She got very defensive, I really don't think she has a clue how disappointed people are with her class. So I just said that we were all stressed due to the long wait and I knew she had to leave so it wasn't a good time to talk, but I really wanted to sit down and talk with her at a more appropriate time to voice my concerns. She basically just shrugged and handed me my test score and essay. I left and burst into tears shortly thereafter.

    Now I'm beyond stressed because I feel like I'm on her "list" because I ticked her off by saying something (and she already doesn't like me because I ask questions in class), but I really don't want to get off on a bad foot with her. If I can make it through this, I graduate in May. I don't want to rock the boat. I just don't see how a teacher can be this disorganized and NOT TEACH!

    All I want is a syllabus, a reading assignment, an instructor who teaches and allows us to ask questions, and for my test to be handed back in a timely manner. Is that too much to ask of an instructor??

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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   Daytonite
    you say you don't want to rock the boat, but it sounds like that is exactly what you did. a teacher's job is to facilitate (assist) you in your learning, but it is the student's job to do the actual learning. sounds like you are doing just fine on your own. if you do some research you will find that learning is better accomplished in groups which i see you say your instructor has had your class do as well as having students do teaching projects to each other. she seems to know something about teaching. people do not retain nearly as much from lectures as they do from becoming actively engaged in the kinds of activities you have had already had to participate in! in so far as doing group and teamwork activities, this is good preparation for your future work as nurses. since you say your instructor didn't give you any direction, here's some for you so you will know how to approach teamwork and group projects in the future:
    i'm sorry if i don't sound more sympathetic. i was in a nursing program where we had no formal lectures. we were given a syllabus and a list of objectives and told to go look up the answers. if we asked questions we were asked, "where have you looked?" and never given a direct answer. we were encouraged to form study groups and to discuss nursing. you learn more by talking about nursing concepts in a group situation than you do by sitting and listening to a lecture about them. we all passed our state board exams on the first try. the reason this was done was to teach us how to become independent learners. when you graduate from nursing school you will have only learned the very basics of nursing. there will still be a great deal to learn and discover. once you are out of nursing school there will be no nursing instructors to help you find those answers you need. you will be left to find them by your own ingenuity. your nursing school would be doing you a disservice to not encourage this independence. part of the mission of a college education is for you to learn how to find answers and learn to do research on your own. this is quite different from the goals of a high school education. i get the impression that you are already capable of that, but you are seeking the approval of the instructor for your beginning efforts and feel snubbed that this instructor is not giving it to you. you can find the how and why of nursing concepts in many other places besides asking your instructor. you will find them in care plan books and other nursing textbooks (check your school library). pathophysiology books will tell you about the disease processes. nclex review books are also a great source for much of this information. there are also a number of websites where you can get pathophysiology and disease information online. so, she's not going to pat you on the back for it. that doesn't mean you have to give up your enthusiasm to explore ahead even if she's told you not to. i would recommend that you get together with a couple of other like-minded students and form a study group. something else you can do is talk with students in the semester ahead of you who had this instructor last semester and find out what the schedule of learning will be and what else you can expect of this instructor.
  4. by   jsu102
    Thanks for the response, the feedback, and the links!

    I realize that independent learning is a big part of nursing school and I'm ok with that. I don't need validation or a pat on the back to tell me I'm doing a good job with that. I'm a motivated learner and I'm confident in that. But I disagree that a class should be conducted entirely with the expectation of students teaching themselves. That's what I have my online classes for. I don't drive 160 miles round trip to get nothing out of a lecture. I do the research on my own, I read my book, I read my supplemental A&P books, I read my NCLEX books, I work in study groups, and I go online. But when I go to all of those places and I still can't quite wrap my brain around something, I expect my instructor to be willing to help. I'm not asking to be spoon fed this information, but I do expect to have a real live person that's more knowledgeable that I am to consult with when I have problems with a topic.

    But the thing is, her lack of teaching is only a small part of my stress. You mentioned a syllabus and a list of objectives, we don't even have that. I don't have any clue what system we're covering until right before that class happens. It's very stressful for me since I work full time and therefore I need more than a couple days to read up on and feel comfortable with an entire system (we have med-surg this semester). At least if I knew "ok we're doing respiratory, then cardiac, etc" I would be able to prepare accordingly. And I forgot to mention, when she does hand out an outline, it's full of errors. Blatantly wrong information that when asked about or pointed out, she acknowledges is wrong but also gets defensive about. Why have an outline if I need to spend extra time figuring out what's correct and what's not?

    And I think it's ridiculous to wait an hour and a half in line after class for a test result and an assignment. It's just poor planning.

    As a student, I think it's not unrealistic to expect to have a clearly outlined syllabus for the semester that tells me when we're covering what subjects and what reading accompanies those things. And I feel it's only fair to be notified of a pending assignment at the same time as my classmates. Another thing I didn't mention - we have a group assignment due in a month. There are 6 groups in our class. 2 groups received their assignments the first week of class. 4 groups only received their assignments this week. How is it fair that two groups had four extra weeks to do an assignment than the other four groups?

    I realize no one here knows the full picture so it's unfair to ask you to make a judgment. Basically, I'm just frustrated and needing to vent and needing to find my focus. I thought it may do me good to hear some encouragement or words of wisdom from others in similar situations.

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