I’ll admit it. I had a teaching nightmare. This is odd because I have had very positive teaching experiences with my students and, as I say in the acknowledgements of my dissertation, “Writing all of their letters of recommendation is a small price to pay for all that I learn from them.”
Nevertheless, I had a teaching nightmare last night. I'm going to assume it was that iced Americano I had at about 3pm, but there's no way to know. It was the first day of classes in a large auditorium and I really blew it. Usually, on the first day, I have a draft syllabus that I introduce to the students but I don’t give them a copy. I edit it slightly based on our conversation during the first class to take into account students’ interests. In the nightmare, the students were disruptive, there was no meaningful conversation to help direct the syllabus, we kept changing classrooms for various reasons and I (obviously) did a poor job managing the chaos.
Even though the students at the University of Florida have been polite, engaging and proactive, the dream got me to start thinking about the rights of students and the professor. You may notice they are similar.
- Students deserve to be treated with respect by the professor and all other students.
- Students deserve a well-prepared, enthusiastic, informed professor.
- Students deserve assignments that challenge their abilities and meaningfully evaluate course material.
- Students deserve a professor who makes herself available to assist with issues within the course, career counseling and long-term assignments.
- Students deserve grace when unexpected circumstances influence their ability to perform at the best of their ability.
- Excellent students deserve on-time letters of recommendation.
- Professors deserve to be treated with respect by all students.
- Professors deserve well-prepared and enthusiastic students. This includes arriving on time, having had enough sleep to participate, and keeping up with current events that may be relevant to course discussion.
- Professors deserve to grade materials that students have attempted to the best of their ability. This includes working slowly over time on large assignments rather than in bursts of activity the night before the deadline.
- Professors deserve to be well informed of anything that may influence student performance.
- Professors deserve all assignments on time unless there is a previous arrangement.
- Professors deserve one month’s notice on all letters of recommendation.