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Miserable Math Class, Finally Over

  1. May 21, 2008 #1
    Miserable Math Class, Finally Over!!

    I took PDEs this semester. This class was a 400 level, (upper level math class undergard), but my teacher was a real jerk. We did wayyy more chapters than any other class. He talked down to the class when he lectured, constantly. He gave a homework every week even if we were doing the material still, which gave you a few days to do it and turn it in instead of an entire week. His first test was bi-modal, and he flunked nearly half the students-they never showed up after failing the first exam ever again. His second exam was much harder than the homeworks. I was in his office constantly, and he opened up to me and became pretty nice to me. But once in a while in his office he would ask me if I showed up for class- I went to class every single day and he knew it. It was just a stupid thing for him to say. He kept pushing back his exams and delaying them so that our second exam was the second to last day of class, a thursday. And then we had our final exam the next thursday, which had material we did the last day of class and never had hw on! He never had any exam review of any kind, whatsoever, and even said explicitly not to bother him in his office about the exams.
    So I had his second exam thursday, a final exam in my grad class tuesday (which I had to study all weekend for), then I had from tuesday 7pm until the thursday of that week 8-am for his final exam. Pretty much one day to study. So I just studied the old material and ignored the stuff he taught the last few days of class that we had never had any HW on because I knew I wasnt going to learn it in one day. I went to bed the day before the exam at 2am, pretty early for me. Woke up the next day, and totally bombed the final. I went from having an A- to a boarder line C because of the final. I had to have a B or better to consider 'passing' in grad school.

    When I went to his office he said he was 'really dissapointed in me' because I did so bad on the final, 47/100. I tried my best to look really concerned and told him 'yeah, I know. I got stuck on one problem and lost alot of time and I had a final before hand, bla bla bla.' He said, I was generous and gave you a B, but you were half a point away but I know you worked hard.

    Then I walked out of his office quietly with my head down. Once I closed his door I had the biggest smile on my face and left happy as can be. That class was a HORRIBLE amount of work, and I dont give a damn about PDEs. Yippie its over!! :biggrin: :biggrin:

    To be fair, he taught me a lot of math. But this class was wayyyyyyyyyyyy wayyyyyy too much work to be reasonable.

    I dont think my advisor will be to happy with my B- in an undergrad math class <shrug> .

    -I was never so happy to do so poorly in my life. Couldnt care less what my grade was so long as it was passing. And I just did it by the skin of my teeth.
    Last edited: May 21, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2008 #2


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    I took Advanced Alegebra from a prof who announced about 1/3 through the class that he only gave three grades: 4.0, 2.0. and 0.0. We thought he was kidding -- he wasn't.

    Several students complained to the math department. The dean was quite blunt: this guy had tenure, there wasn't much they could do. The math department had moved his office to a rented office off-campus, and only gave him classes to teach once in a blue moon -- we just happened to have the bad luck to get him!

    I got a 2.0. Sigh. I feel your pain!
  4. May 21, 2008 #3
    Reminds me of this :rofl: .
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  5. May 22, 2008 #4
    I don't understand the concept of tenure. Is it illegal to just kill, I mean, fire, someone who has tenure or something? I know some profs that need a good ass-beating, I mean, firing, jeez, I keep mixing the two up, but they are just immune to it? How unacademic to not be able to challenge someone.
  6. May 22, 2008 #5
    Tenure is not law. It is just tradition.
  7. May 22, 2008 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    I had a math professor who announced the first day of class that we won't be getting much sleep while taking her class. This was followed by: "You can sleep when you die, but for now you're mine!" :eek:
  8. May 22, 2008 #7


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    Something similiar happened to me this year too.

    I had a full year computer applications using PDE's kind of thing. The first half is with one prof. and the second with another.

    For the first half, well my fellow students thought he was going to rip my head off. It starts with me and friends laughing and talking loud just outside his office door. Then he tells us to basically "shut up" and leave. So, I did, but I went to a classroom not far with students. Then the whole classroom started speaking loud and everything with the door open. He then came to the classroom and said again to keep it down and closed the door. But then, someone came in and left the door open...

    Then later on during the week, he asked a question to the class and I answered it. Then he said I was wrong. He went on saying what the answer was, but that is what I SAID! So, I stood and said "That's what I said." and he's like "No, it wasn't.", so I insist and I say "I know what I said and that's what I said." That was like a minute back and forth.

    Then the following week, there was this grape wine festival at our school in the afternoon. It's basically a HUGE grape fight. I didn't want to miss it. No way. So, 5 minutes after class started, I left. All my friends were like... he was not happy at all because I just took off, which is probably rare because everyone is so scare of him. If that wasn't bad enough, I just showed up 5 minutes before class ended (2 hour class, ~1 hour grape fight).

    And the odd part is, he started liking me. I think it was because I was involved in school and things. He seems to like that kind of stuff. So, I guess he smelled the grapes and wine on me when I returned to class. My friends were sure he'd destroy me. He ended up seeing me at over events and all that jazz. He helped me all the time when I needed it. I got extensions which were priceless! Overall, he's now one of my favourite profs. Most people can't approach the guy for anything. I just go right up to him and simply ask for help or an extension (needed an extension for each report :S). All went well though. Very nice guy.

    Note: I bombed the midterm with like 20%. He was actually really mad.

    The second half is again very similiar. I'll keep it short. This prof. made someone cry in class this term!

    Well, I got in like a 20 minute argument with the guy in class when the class is only 45 minutes long. Again, needed extensions for just about everything. For the project, I never went to do meetings with prof. which was required and you're suppose to have like 3-5 of them. I never did any. After everyone did like 3 of them, he actually had a meeting with me near the end of the class in front of everyone. At the presentation while I was walking up to the front, he actually said... "This will be interesting since you're the only one I have never seen." I just kind of laughed and said... "It's good. :)"

    Sometimes he teaches in a demeaning kind of way. I actually like it. I learned a lot. He has so many ways to describe things it's pretty cool.

    In the end, I did very well in the class. I could have done a lot better, but I'm sure most people would trade grades with me (B+). I think class participation and my final projects are what made my mark. I actually find the class relatively pretty cool when everyone said it's a nightmare. And, both profs. I really like. They're definitely top end profs. at our school.
  9. May 22, 2008 #8


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    Tenure just means they can't fire the guy, it doesn't mean they can't override his grading decisions. If it wasn't in the syllabus handed out on day 1 of class, then you'd have good reason to argue for a grade adjustment based on the grading policy in the syllabus (or default to a standard university policy that lists 5 grades, or whatever it states). They should remove him from having his own class and just have him give a lecture or two here and there in courses run by other people.

    As for Cyrus' experience, yeah, moving targets for exams are a problem too. I really used to hate it when someone would move an exam because a couple students complained they had some other exam that date. That only inconvenienced the rest of us...you know from day 1 you have the exams on certain dates, what does changing one from Tuesday to Wednesday matter when you should be preparing well in advance? But this sounds even more extreme to push exams back by weeks. It's just plain disorganization for an instructor to not be able to complete the material in time for an exam. Sure, once in a while you run over by a half lecture, but then you either tell the students it won't be on the exam or you find something else to cut back on to catch up. If you're weeks behind, you simply haven't planned your course properly.
  10. May 23, 2008 #9


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    to me this comment tells it all:

    "To be fair, he taught me a lot of math. But this class was wayyyyyyyyyyyy wayyyyyy too much work to be reasonable. "

    i.e. it was an excellent class, and hard because learning math is after all hard.

    sounds like you actually benefited from it quite a bit. you should be proud of doing well in a solid, hard class.
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