Century College students given time-out
February 26, 2009
After one of my classes was canceled late after registration began, I decided that I’d quick pick up a class at Century College. Small Group Communication was the course, mainly because it fit into one of the requirements of my minor.
This class is rather interesting and provides some unique opportunities. The main goal of the class is to complete 10 hours of service learning. The 30 students were divided into groups of five. We then, as a group, are responsible for contacting a nonprofit organization and completing our volunteer work within a certain time period.
I must admit that the concept of the class is fascinating. In fact, this class was my prediction for favorite this semester. As it turns out, a professor’s poor execution of a class can ruin even the greatest idea. At this point I will note that everything I’m about to explain is not exaggerated or taken out of context. It’s the truth and it happens. I “tattle” not to complain, but rather to inform. Twice in class now we’ve been “sent home early” for “bad behavior.”
If it sounds ridiculous, it is. I’ve found these past occurrences comical. Most community colleges do have the reputation as being an extension of high school. When we’re not being sent home, we’re taking quizzes. But no, not ordinary quizzes. Each chapter in our textbook is at most 20 pages long. We are allowed to write one page of notes (front and back) on the chapter and use it on the quiz. I can’t fill the page.
The quizzes are composed of 10 questions that basically give a definition to a term which, of course, is written on our sheet of paper. It sounds easy, wonderful, but it’s not. I have no idea what these terms mean; I don’t read the chapters. I have never felt this way about any topic before and it’s scary. I literally know… nothing.
Anyway, back to class this past Tuesday. A few of the students had questions concerning a grade on an assignment we had gotten back. The more the students questioned the professor, the more defensive she became. As if to say, “How dare you question my assignment’s guidelines!”
After a few minutes of back and forth arguing, she became very hostile and told us to go take a 10 minute timeout. Our eyes darted back and forth… a timeout? What grade are we in? To make a long story short, after our “timeout,” she came back to class and told us that ganging up on a teacher was a bad idea. Then, pulled out the textbook and instructed us to write a paper on the term “groupthink” and what mistakes we had just made in questioning her.
I was frustrated, upset and wanted to do something about this. I felt helpless and unable to make a difference. I know professors and teachers deserve to be respected. That wasn’t my issue. The problem is college students should not be put in a time out, feel threatened, punished or insignificant.
Every educator I’ve had has told me to ask questions, speak up and express my opinion. In fact, every professor I’ve had at UW-River Falls has followed this philosophy. I don’t know what needs to be or will be done about this particular professor. I hope others don’t experience this because I can personally say, it’s disheartening.
Cristy Brusoe is a student at UW-River Falls.