I have hit the wall early this time. It always seems like a great idea for me to go back to school as I sit in my grey cubicle dreaming of education as some infinite stream of knowledge funneling its way into my brain like a freaking rainbow into a cloud.
But then reality hits sometime around the fourth week, and I realize that I have signed up for a shitload of homework and tests and—oh yeah!—I am still the world’s worst procrastinator. Luckily, my procrastination gene is located right next to my getting-shit-done-at-the-last-minute gene and is easily activated, so I haven’t fallen behind yet.
What is frustrating, though, is the professor. I want to like her, I really do. She’s an old school programmer who learned on the job and then went to school to hone her skillz, but despite the fact that she’s been teaching at Nashville State for more than a decade, she is one of the most goddamn-confusing professors I’ve ever had. Anywhere.
The class is a hybrid web course, which means that we meet for two hours once a week (instead of the traditional three) in the classroom, and then have numerous assignments to submit online before the next class day. There are two texts for the course, and each week’s assignment consists of reading the next chapter, a chapter pre-test, a chapter graded test, three debugging code exercises, one or more other exercises, and then generally a few exercises from the secondary text.
That is a lot of fucking work.
But it’s not just that, it’s that we have to look in about three different places online to even determine what all is due any given week, though I’ve kind of gotten used to that.
What irritates me the most, however, is that after four weeks of this I’ve only gotten feedback for one of the assignments I’ve turned in. She just hasn’t gotten around to grading anything else, I guess. And I would be all well and fine with that, since I’m sure grading is a pain in the ass, except she’s graded other people’s work. She’s graded Ian’s work, and he’s turned things in AFTER me.
And I would be happy to chalk this all up to some community college administration bureaucracy and give her the benefit of the doubt, except that when it comes to actually teaching? She’s just really not that great of a teacher. We go over a new chapter in the main text each week in class, but instead of explaining things in any semblance of order, she will start throwing shit up on the board and having us work out various things, and there never really seems to be any rhyme or reason to the order of things. And even after reading the chapter five bajillion times, there will be these crucial elements that don’t make any fucking sense in the text, and she will just kind of gloss over them.
This class is aimed to teach the logic of programming, and I’ve used the analogy before that it feels a lot like trying to learn to spell without being able to use actual words. And in that same vein, the best way to describe her teaching style is that we’re required to form complex English words before we’re taught what letters can and cannot be used together in the English language.
Luckily for me, Ian (who’s taking this class with me) has a programming background. The most amazing thing to me is how the professor can spend 15 minutes talking about something and just as my head is about to explode in confusion I can turn to him and say “Wait, but what the fuck does this mean?” and he will say “Oh, it’s this and this” and I will completely get it. He’d be a great professor as long as he could work at a place that didn’t mind him occasionally throwing out a “you dumbass” as he is enlightening minds.
On the other hand, this is the same man who got me to understand linear algebra in 45 minutes the night before the GRE, resulting in my pwning the math section of that test, so maybe he’s not so much a good teacher as he is a goddamn miracle worker.