Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What The Easy A Professor Taught Me

I've always liked getting good grades.  From a young age the importance of working hard and trying your best was instilled into my brain.  I wasn't a straight A student every year, but I was in honors classes and always made the honor roll.  In college, I got off to a bit of a rough start, but after I got married after my sophomore year, I rounded out my college career with all 4.0's.

Easy_A

During the course of college, I one had that 'one professor', the one that is known as being easy, the easy A. As a psychology major the material came naturally to me and seemed intuitive, but I learned there is a difference between understanding the material and knowing it well enough for a test. So,  I began to diligently study.  I would read through the material and then write a list of questions, sometimes as many as 80-100 questions; I would then make my new husband quiz me on these questions over and over again.

In this class, after our first test I was happy to see I left the testing center with an A.  My hard work had paid off.  The next day I went back to class, proud of my grade and wondering how everyone else did.  Our professor had our tests and we spent class time going over the tests.  Students would ask about a question saying they didn't understand it or thought some other answer made sense too and he would agree and give everyone that also picked that answer credit.

At first, it seemed pretty awesome as who doesn't want a free questions. Quickly more hands shot up.  It soon became apparent that you could pretty much sneeze at a problem and he would give you credit for it.

Then I was mad.

I had gotten that question correct, I had taken the time to study and really learn the material, and now everyone was now getting the same grade as me.  This pattern continued for every test.  This had a strange affect on me, rather than making be grateful for one easy class, it made me stop caring.  What was the point to study?  Why try hard?  All I had to do was go argue the problem and he would give me credit.  There was no longer any incentive to try.

Thankfully my university did not believe in this principle that this professor was inadvertently teaching either, he wasn't a professor much longer.

When people are given free hand-outs, hand-outs instead of hand-ups, what incentive do they have to try?  What do they have to work for?  Nothing.  They will become disheartened, depressed, and have nothing to work for.  Why take the time to work when all you have to do is complain and you will get a handout.

I am not oblivious to the real needs, to the innocent victims of life and it's circumstances.  I spent years after graduating college working and protecting children who suffered from things almost unimaginable.  I saw first hand when the system failed to protect and provide for those who truly needed it.  I also saw time and time again how the system actually rewarded those for doing nothing.

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day- teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.  It is time to stop handing out free fish.

So what did that easy-A professor teach me?  He taught me that if you want people to truly succeed, to truly make something of their lives, then they have to work for it, otherwise they will just give up.

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34 comments:

  1. I agree with what you're saying here for the most part - the professor shouldn't have allowed every student who complained to get credit for a wrong answer. I had a few professors who would consider/give partial credit sometimes and that was okay. It is crappy when people don't do equal work but get the same grades or better, unfortunately it happens a lot!

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    1. Oh, I completely agree that if something truly is wrong or confusing and another answer could truly make sense, then yes partial credit is great. With this professor though even the most illogical answers were soon being given credit for.

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  2. I have learned that in life, this happens far too often. In England it seems to me and my husband that if we had simple left school and sat back, the world would have been handed to us on a plate. As we work hard, we seem to have to pay, pay, pay for our lives and those who cannot be bothered to strive to succeed. Life is annoying sometimes.

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    1. I know! I often think what would the world be like if everyone actually worked and tried, heck even if everyone truly tried at least half the time... world would be a totally different place.

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  3. I've been fortunate enough that I haven't dealt with a professor like that yet, though I can definitely understand how it would be frustrating. Most of the professor's that I've had to use curves to grade tests and that kind of irritated me.

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    1. Yes and hopefully you never do. I am not a fan of the curve.

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  4. That is unbelievable. I would have been furious putting in that much work only to have the teacher handing out easy credits based on students challenging the question - were they even close to the right answer? And then people like you who did actually study for the test will look like you just got the A because every one does. Not fair at all.

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    1. Yes! Exactly! It doesn't give you much incentive to study or try if you know everyone is just going to get the same grade.

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  5. I think sometimes professors do that when there is a particular question that most got incorrect. Plus, unless the question was down right incorrect, maybe he was just testing your theory and argumentative skills. I have had professors that had every answer as the correct answer and you had to explain why you chose that one over the others. Just a thought.

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    1. I guess that is a possibility, as being able to debate and express your side is definitely a great skill, but in his case I am pretty sure that was not the case. Often at first he would say no, but then enough people would pretty much start to whine and he would say, oh okay.

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  6. This a very interesting perspective. I was a hard-working student. It doesn't matter whether my professor given an A as easy as he takes a breath, or he's stingy with it. I always tried my best to excel in every class, although in some subjects I failed miserably (math and accounting, anyone?).

    I feel that I owed good grades to myself, and not to somebody else. I needed the process of learning and studying. I needed the process of giving out all I can for the result I want.

    I understand your frustration when a professor giving out A like nobody's business. But I am also happy that you learned something from this unfortunate event :)

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    1. Oh I am definitely very self driven, especially in elementary-high school I would beat myself up if I got a bad grade, I too wanted to succeed just for the drive of being successful and trying. My overall point was, if you grow up only seeing people being given hand-outs, grown up seeing people get all of these things for doing nothing, then how will you ever develop that drive on your own, why would you.

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  7. This is an interesting topic. I completely agree that if we are to succeed than nothing other than hard work and drive will make that happen. By allowing anyone to argue for a correct answer just teaches them they can get out of anything with the right words. Not by working hard and admitting your mistakes.

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    1. Bingo! And yes you need to be self-driven and willing to work, but if in your life all you saw was people getting things for free, or things for when they didn't try hard, how and why would you be able to develop that drive.

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  8. Ha! Haven't we all been there. It's funny, I found that all of the teachers that got on my nerves and pushed me end up being the best asset.

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    1. Yep, those ones we love to hate at the time truly help us the most in the end

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  9. I remember having a professor like this and at the time I just enjoyed the easy class. As I got older I started thinking more about it and I kind of felt short changed. But at the end of the day, I know I worked my hardest and learned a lot even though it was an easy class.

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    1. Yes, and as long as you know you kept trying that is good, and yeah funny how time and wisdom changes perspective on things

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  10. I had a professor who was such a terrible lecturer that he always gave the entire class extra points after a test so that no one got below a C. I learned nothing in that class except that I didn't want to study astronomy.

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    1. Lol! I had a communications class that taught me the same thing.

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  11. I had a teacher like that in grade school. It was his last year before he retired, and he basically babysat. Meaning we watched The Miracle Worker 20 times in that class. Our it was on the screen and we played cards and talked while the movie was on. Every assignment was worth 1k points, or a million points. I liked that I didn't have to do anything but socialize during that class but I longingly passed the honors class and wished to be intellectually simulated. Funny, isn't it? How we truly don't want the easy things, how those things tend to leave us unsatisfied. Only when we overcome a challenge do we feel it was worth our time. I've never really thought about that. And of course, I agree it is best to teach someone to help themselves. :)

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    1. Oh that would be awful! What a waste of a year.

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  12. The professor I learned the most from was my Algebra 101. I decided to sign up for a math class in summer semester because it was usually a laid back, easy grade for summer classes. However, on the first day of class, the prof rolled into the class in a wheel chair, and said "IF you are expecting an easy class, think again. Nothing in life is easy for me, and it isn't going to be easy for you." I never studied so hard in my life. I did make an A though, and I was the only person in the class that did,

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    1. That is so awesome you got an A and that you worked for it! It feels good when you know you truly tried for it

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  13. This is a great post and topic. I think perhaps this concept also bring out that you should work hard because you love what you do and not for grades. In life and in your career, you won't always get rewarded for doing the right thing. Or even being the best. But its what you do consistently when no one is watching that demonstrates character. When I was in school I had professors that were both very difficult and easy, but I gave it my all because I loved my major and I loved going to class.

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    1. Oh totally agree! And yes, if you are ever working or trying just for the grades or just to make lots of money, that will never be enough; there has to be that little something more that will make you truly happy and successful in life.

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  14. I totally agree with you! I didn't really have any easy classes in college (or easy professors) and I'm glad for that. I learned a ton, and now in my field I know more than everyone!

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    1. Yes! Employers don't want someone who just skirted through everything, they want people that know how to work!

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  15. I come from the same place and totally believe that hard work pays off!

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    1. Yes! In the end it's the only way

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  16. I remember I had a class where it was an easy a, it was kinda disappointing.

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    1. Yes! It seems funny that it would work out that way, but it truly does. There is no satisfaction in just being given things.

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  17. This is so well written, Emmy! This applies in our lives in so many ways. I hope I can teach my kids the same lessons.

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    1. Thank you so much! And yes, it is definitely meant to be applied in much more than just school.

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