Biology Degree - Laboratory Organiser Who is Not Ideal

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Blue Jay
Blue Jay

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Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 99
Location: Northern Ireland

12 Jan 2010, 11:41 am

This semester I am doing a laboratory based three week intensive course organised and facilitated by a guy who is really starting to rile me. He has information diarrhoea - when he goes over complex things e.g. laboratory work, before we have to do it, he gives us EVERYTHING in one go, and then asks '...So is that obvious - do you understand all that? Ready to go away and do all that tomorrow??" And he's also said that because of family issues he may not be able to teach all the way through so he's going to cram in extra stuff and go extra fast in the first few days (as though that will make it actually go into our brains better/faster!!). I am not fast enough at processing information to keep up but his response is basically that well we'll just have to if we're going to do this course.

Also when people make mistakes he doesn't ever want to know the reason why they made mistakes, e.g. there was a misprint in the protocol. He just says he's not interested/he doesn't want to know, and that we obviously haven't read the protocol. I spent a good 3 hours or so studying the protocol last night and typing it up in a way that I understood and could process. Surely not listening to explanations of mistakes/misunderstandings means he never learns if his teaching method is working or not for individual people, and how to stop the same mistkaes from occuring?? He just says students make mistakes all the time and it's normal - no, it's not normal - if he listened to why they were making them he could re-phrase the instructions and they wouldn't make them again in the future!! And he doesn't particularly like it when people have to ask questions or ask for further details about what to do, as he says that shows we haven't read the protocol properly or listened properly or are being too anal.

He is also convinced the only way people can effectively revise, learn or organise their thoughts and actions is the way he does it, so he's constantly trying to force square pegs into round holes instead of being flexible. Having said that he is good in lectures, I just don't like his methods in tutorials or practicals.

When I first said I wanted to do a lab based project he called me to his office and told me that although my results in general were great, my lab results were not good and was I sure I wanted to do it? The lab results were lower than they could have been for various Asperger issues, not issues with understanding the theory or the processes involved. He accepts that I think differently but his suggested solution was that I would probably just get very stressed in the lab class so it might not be the class for me. However I was not going to pass up the opportunity to learn new skills in the lab that might come in useful in the future, so I guess I landed myself in it. But surely it should be him taking the pain to ensure everyone gets well taught rather than us taking the pain to ensure we do things in a way which pleases his personal aesthetics?

Oh, and although he's said I can leave the lab briefly to take my medication and to eat (I get very ill if I don't eat high energy food regularly at the correct times), we're not allowed proper breaks either - we have to grab 15 minutes or so to scoff something resembling lunch...if the protocol allows for it that is. Oh, and tomorrow our day lasts from 9:15am-7:00pm. glad that's all off my chest. Thanks for listening. Responses very welcome!!


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Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 994
Location: between bannings.

12 Jan 2010, 12:08 pm

Information Diarrhea lol :lol: I like that, definitely going to us it.

Such is college, you gotta take the good with the bad. You'll get some good professors and you'll get some shitty ones. I've had professors like that who just jam everything down your throat in a few hours and rub their hands clean of it. I would have graduated with highest honors had it not been for a few bad professors. You just got to tough it out, try hitting him up during office hours and just telling him you're having trouble following him in class, when ever i was having trouble I would do that, even if i had no interest in following the material or hated the professor, just showing innitiative and still making sure you showed up for class was an instant letter grade raise.

Most professors deal with 300+ students a day, 1000+ if they are doing lecture classes. 95% of them are there doing just barely enough to get by so they love anyone who shows some kind of innitiative.

Then you have your professors who just let TAs do it all, that's even worse, just a teacher by label only, there to further their publishing career :roll:

?It's a sad thing not to have friends, but it is even sadder not to have enemies.? - El Che