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Problems with a teacher

  1. Feb 22, 2010 #1
    As many of the advisors on here are teachers, I was curious what your oppinons were.

    I have had an ever occuring, and reoccuring issue with my physics instructor. Im trying to stay impartial but in all honesty, its starting to annoy. He has the tendancy to require problems to be done a certain way or with hold points, this would not be that overtaxing except that he doesn't tell you what way he wants it done. My latest test lost 18% for that reason, despite that I had arived at the correct answer.

    Any thoughts
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2010 #2
    Currently my teacher does the exactly the same thing, however I previously knew him before I was physically in his classroom. He requires you to do his way step by step or you lose points. It's quite frustrating, but all I can tell you is to do it his way if you want to get the best grade you possibly can.
  4. Feb 22, 2010 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    IMO, it's unfair for him to dock you points for reasons he hasn't told you. Are you sure that he hasn't told you, though? Could he have put the information in a syllabus or some other information about the class?

    Could he have stated what he's looking for during a class or lab, and you didn't hear or weren't present? If so, he would have told students in the class how he was grading, but that's not as good as if the information were given in the syllabus.

    Did he write any comments on the test explaining the reason for reducing your score by 18%? Did the work you showed agree with the answer you wrote?

    One time a student came to my office asking why I marked her homework problem wrong (no credit), even though she had the right answer. Her friend in the class got half credit for the same problem, even though the friend didn't get the right answer. I explained to her that none of her work supported her answer (which happened to be in the back of the book), but her friend's work was at least going in the right direction, with a relatively minor error near the end.
  5. Feb 22, 2010 #4
    See and I could understand that but his exact reply was I can't give you credit if you don't show your work, but I did, I showed it in a matter that my friend in a much lower math class understood, The only thing regarding his method is that he occasional does demonstrations in class, But he does them in an incredeble drown out way that is horrible inefficient. He does it to allow others to follow all the parts but I can't see how he would make us do that when a problem takes him a few class hours to do and we get 2 hours for several problems?
    I have even approached the instructor before with concerns to no avail
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2010
  6. Feb 22, 2010 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    So you know who in the class have the top grades at the moment? I'd ask them to find out what the teacher is looking for. Although it sounds from this post that maybe you know what he wants, but don't like having to write it out in such detail. I probably wouldn't like it either, but if that's how he grades, then whatever. Get a good grade in that class and move on.
  7. Feb 22, 2010 #6
    How about giving us some details? Problem. Your solution. Your teachers required solution...
  8. Feb 22, 2010 #7
    Its not a matter of not wanting to do it, its a matter of not being able to write that fast, The irony is that I did it the same way as someone who had a descent score
  9. Feb 22, 2010 #8
    Ill post the full solution when I get a chance, its not that short
  10. Feb 22, 2010 #9


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    Education Advisor

    I'm surprised no one has said it yet, but when it comes to physics problems, the process is much more important than the actual answer.

    Your teacher has likely followed a marking scheme that gives a certain percentage for each step, so when you don't write down the steps you followed, it puts him in a position of guessing how you arrived at the answer. Some students can do a lot of work in their head. Others will simply take a guess, multiply a couple of factors together that they multipled in a similar homework problem and arrive at the correct answer.
  11. Feb 22, 2010 #10

    Andy Resnick

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    Unfortunately (IMO), some teachers approach teaching Physics in terms of algorithms. That is, something like "Problems of this type are solved this particular way. Problems of *that* type are solved *that* way"... something like this:

    http://faculty.normandale.edu/~physics/Hollabaugh/probsolv.htm [Broken]

    This is seen more often in gen-ed introductory classes, but its possible for any Physics class to be taught this way.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Feb 23, 2010 #11


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    Staff: Mentor

    In know a story of a math teacher too dumb to solve most of the questions on her own. Her son was a bright guy so he was solving questions for her at home. Later any student who solved the question using different approach was doomed, as she was not able to understand that solutions are equivalent.

    Sad story, but they happen.
  13. Feb 23, 2010 #12
    I currently have a similar problem with my Chemistry teacher. She has a problem with messing her figures up, in turn marking my answers wrong. Its almost a daily occurrence with worksheets and quizzes but when she gave me a 71 on a text I knew I did well on, I had to call her on it. Ended up with a 98 instead.
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