Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting Out of Hand

This morning one of my labmates showed me two assignments that were a little strange. The students were told to put a cover page (for FOIP purposes I assume). These two students, however, decided to take it one step further and add a photo and quote. Cute idea, sure, until you read what they wrote.

One wrote "100 A++ or else..."

The other included a photo of a dog, and then wrote something along the lines of "This dog hunts graduate students who don't give perfect marks."

Since when did it become acceptable to threaten TAs? Undergraduate students are getting completely out of hand with what they can get away with. They feel so entitled to a good grade (and to everything else) that they resort to making threats!!??

I've found, since being at this university, that the quality and level of education has decreased dramatically, Take these cases in point:

1. When I TA'd the first year physics labs, the students were guaranteed a 70% if they handed in their report (which was fill in the blank for the most part). They received marks for putting their name and student ID correctly on the report and for tidiness. The TAs were told to make sure that the average was at least 80% --- 80%!!!

2. The second year physics courses no longer include any calculus. Seriously!! Physics is pretty much based on calculus - how can they be taking second year physics courses with out it???

3. In the high school system here, teachers are not allowed to set deadlines for assignments. This, of course, leads to students being unable to complete their university work on time, causing many extensions - even into the next semester.

This situation with the students threatening the TAs brings me to another thought: our society as a whole has gotten to the point where rudeness, ignorance, entitlement and general asshole-ness rules. Why? Because no one wants to confront anyone who behaves poorly! We all just "let it go" or assume "someone else will deal with it" because we don't want to "get in the middle of it" or "it's not our place"- this is bullshit! It's time we all start taking a stand against this crap!!

Yesterday we had our weekly soccer game, and the ref was a complete tool. He kept making calls in the other team's favor and decided as the game went on what rules to follow. One of the most annoying points was when our team scored a goal right off the center kick (which is directly in the FIFA rules) - the ref did not allow it. We then showed him a copy of the rules and his response was "I don't care, take it up with [sports coordinator]." He could not even admit that he was wrong when confronted with the correct information!!

Instead of just "taking it" or "letting it go", I decided to write an email to the sports coordinator. I discussed the issue of the goal and how the other team broke many of the outlined rules that would have actually made them forfeit the game. I'm so glad I did because here was the response:

Hi Mrs. CH,

Thank you for sharing your concerns. I have forwarded this message on to the referee-in-chief and she will be following up with her referees to clarify these rules and ensure that they are all on the same page. We will also be following up with official in question regarding his behaviour in this instance.

If you wish to officially protest the game, you may write a letter of protest, identifying that there was a misinterpretation of the rules and outlining which rules those were.

Sports Coordinator

How awesome is that?? Of course, I didn't want to formally protest the game, and no-one on my team did, we just wanted to bring the issues to their attention so the refs could be more consistent (and maybe less rude??).

I seriously believe we, as a society, need to start standing up to the BS that people bring into our lives. I'm sick of the rude and entitled attitude that is becoming common place. Join hands with me and let's get back to a society we all want to live in!

Who's with me!???