my fault denks. i was in a bad mood. but you just proved you can indeed learn from anyone, even one who is being a jerk.
If he can design control systems for fighter jets he's probably really good at research - that's why he's a professor. If he's a top researcher the dean & university will not care if he's nasty to undergrads - research brings in the money and prestige.So I believe I have one of those "nightmare" professors for my digital circuits class this semester. I don't mean he's really hard in the sense he gives really hard exams or tons of homework. I am talking personality wise. He is THE most condescending and arrogant person I have ever met.
He laughs when students answer incorrectly, snickers and shakes his head if you make a mistake, makes you feel about 2 inches tall, and very unapproachable. If you ask a question in class, he will question you as to why you don't understand it. When he's explaining concepts, he will basically say if you don't understand this...you are a moron. He will ask, "Does anyone NOT understand this?", and if you say no he will not repeat but only ask, "Why don't you understand?" in a very harsh and condescending tone.
He was an ex-military guy and tons of experience in the industry (designing control systems for fighter jets). I don't know how or why he is a professor at all.
I think this will be the future of learning in science and other fields.I'm always trying to generalize and abstract ideas and concepts. I'm always trying to pack as many dimensions at once into data as I can; I can think of a way to conceptualize eight dimensions, but to program a teaching media for it would require something like a gaming engine; traditional listbar/checkbox/text/radiobutton GUIs just won't do.
I almost always learn better from my peers than my teachers. I feel that it's because we're all learning it at the same time or very recently. Most teachers don't seem to remember what it was that "clicked" for them so they can't relay this to the student.Something that I've become intrigued with, being a physics graduate and a student of computational neuroscience, is visualization of data and concepts. I sometimes feel like I can explain to other students better than many teachers can (well, students that aren't getting particular material, anyway; and I'm not implying that I get it always. Maybe it's because I share a learning style with the people I assist that I'm a better help).
I think the main problem people in this thread have is not professors who assume effort on the part of the student (personally as a student I can't stand when other classmates put no effort in as they waste the entire classes time). Rather the issue lies with professors who treat classes as an annoyance between what they view as other far more important activities.maybe i should apologize for this, but i spent most of my preparation, at least in advanced graduate classes, figuring out how to prepare the mathematics in the best, most logical and insightful way, not how to avoid hurting the feelings of the students who did not get it.
When I presented it, I tried to make it clear that not everyone would understand it right away, and i admitted that i had not done so myself, but i felt an obligation to present the material at a level that would do justice to those who could get it.
in undergraduate classes i admit i also spent a lot of time trying to make it as gentle as possible. But at the graduate level I felt as if the students should be more qualified.
the ratio sort of thins out as the level goes up. Most of us never ignore the students' feelings, but we do make
judgments as to what they should be willing to try to do at different levels.
If you can accept that a professor is not trying to shortchange you, but expects a certain level of commitment from you, you may be able to get a lot more from your classes. good luck.
I agree with daveyinaz. The "nightmare professors" that the OP started this thread about are not simply those that are incompetent, mediocre, or have unreasonably hard tests/homeworks... they are those who demean students to the point where it can affect students' emotional well-being, not to mention hindering their learning and academic success. I've had 2 "nightmare professors" (both during the same semester!). Realistically, what could I have done except for try to learn the material on my own and write negative (and truthful) evaluations at the end of the semester. One professor made sexist jokes. Although I'm sure my college had a policy against this, any action on my part would probably have involved considerable time and energy from me, as well as potentially causing me to lose respect and credibility from my classmates and other professors, since I was 1 of only 2 female students in that class, and would probably be mocked as being overly sensitive or politically correct. However, I wouldn't be surprised if some of my male classmates found his jokes distasteful too. The other professor berated students every class and when I tried to see him at office hours offered very little help. We had no textbook in the class, and when I asked him for a book recommendation he said he couldn't think of any. Both professors were tenured and actually both are now retired, so hopefully I was one of the last to have to put up with them.To sympathize with the OP, I have had professors that were complete asses, towards me and my peers at the time. I'm a pretty calm fellow with a tough past so a few words and petty demeanor are like water drops on a duck's back.......but I did see how it negatively affected a specific classmate and I have to state that no matter the capabilities of the students to learn from a 'nightmare' professor...behavior such as what the OP is talking about should not be tolerated.
I also think a lot of the talk on here is exactly what exacerbates garbage like this by it's condonation, even so far as people rationalizing the professors conduct. The "stop being a baby and learn it yourself" is irrelevant since college students pay money to be taught, not to be abused by someone who feels it's their place to insult your intelligence because they have done something you haven't.
In any case, the way universities are ran, as one poster said, everything is stacked against the student, which should not be the case.
I've had similar experience to you thus far. I've had bad professors because they lack capability in teaching or are perhaps monotone but almost all my professors clearly prepared extensively for class and (in all but one case) cared quite a bit about how well the students do.It is hard for me to identify with these complaints. Once in 1969 I knew a math grad student who said he was shortchanging his teaching to make time for his thesis research, but in the following 41 years I never heard of this phenomenon again. Every professor I knew in my department worked hard on his/her teaching. Almost every professor I had in college and in grad school also prepared his lectures extremely well.
I believe you, but based on my own experience, this is a rare phenomenon. That is my math experience. However I admit my first physics professor was terrible. I also had one bad French lit professor, but the other French lit professor and in history, philosophy,shakespeare, chemistry, slavic literature, 20th century novels, French language, the professors were all excellent. the psychology prof was so-so but he meant well, he just had no flair for lecturing.