Long backstory short: due to a special position I find myself in, being a bachelor studying in a group of specialists (4-year program vs. 5-year program and teaching specialty vs. translator specialty), I have to skip some classes to make it to the teaching ones. I've spoken to the teachers of those classes, and their response was either "Well, okay" or "Oh, that's too bad!". "Well," I thought, "that's how we're doing it, then".

Today I show up to the latter teacher's class (Languages), and she bars me from entering.

TEACHER: "Do you still consider yourself to be a part of that group?"

ME: "...why wouldn't I be?"

TEACHER: "You've missed a whole month of classes" (I did; most of them — because of the overlapping ones)

can't remember what she said next, but we segwayed into

ME: "But... I thought you knew why I did"

TEACHER: "Yes, I do! You see, there are always choices for people to make. I see you have one to make now"

ME: "...a choice between a subject I can't graduate without and another subject I can't graduate without"

TEACHER: "Exactly"

She also said that, without some paper that... I dunno, exonerates me from having so many classes missed? — I can't attend her classes, and that I should talk to the dean about it.

I've had Economics first class in the morning. The subject is okay, but the teacher is... unbelievably terrible. "Ah, you know... A woman should always be a bit of a bitch". "'cause, you know, men are always looking somewhere else for their wishes". So I'm pissed off right now. So I might not be thinking straight. Take what I say next with a grain of salt.

I don't think it's fair. Did I miss out on a lot of the classes? I did. Did I miss most of them because of the quirky position I'm in? Yes: out of 12 classes we've had so far, I had to miss out on 8. I went to the first one, and she was delighted to hear that I'm going to be a teacher. "Oh, how wonderful! I'm so glad to see someone who walks the same path!", or something to that extent. I went to the twelfth one — the one I got barred from. What's the deal with the two that's left?

Anxiety. Pure and simple. Studying secondary languages brings me almost to mental paralysis. All life, aside from eating and mindless entertainment consumption, ceases to be available. Maybe I'm terrified that I will never be able to speak them with the same proficiency as English. I don't know. The thing is: I'm not good at them. I wasn't good before and got worse because I escaped them as much as I could, because I was not good at them because I escaped them...

The teacher gave me one of those self-defence wicked smiles that are supposed to say "I don't give a shit" but end up saying "I do give a shit but can't let you fuck with me". In other words, I don't expect her support or understanding. If I can pass this semester's exam with a "satisfactory", that would be good enough for me. I'm already neck-deep in understanding how little I care about the degree; but it's what I need to teach — schools or private lessons — so this is where I'm going.

I think she took it personally because I don't visit her classes. In my mind, that's the only thing that explains barring a student from the class until X. She knows the position I'm in, she knows what I'm going for. Why else? I expect better from someone in her position. Head of the division? 20 years of experience? Multiple science publications to her name? — and this childish clinging to the subject she loves? What am I missing here?

I'm going to talk to the dean tomorrow: we have a class she's teaching. See if I can open some sort of dialogue with the teacher, if I can get back into classes or get some sort of an alternative arrangement (which seems highly unlikely, but at this point, I'm open to it). I'm paying good money for it, let alone the time and the effort to learn. To see it squashed like that? I'll haunt the teacher ten years later if I have to have her sign the checkbook.


My wife's first year of med school there was a teacher that constantly belittled students. She wrote gotcha questions in the exams (that weren't correct) and would do tests the day before she scheduled them to "keep you on your toes."

My wife was one of the few people passing, but that didn't stop her from helping to organize a walkout. They set up a table in front of the class, got two hundred signatures, and forced the dean to compel the teacher to take her meds. She was audited for the rest of the year and retired two years later.

Professors can be crazy. You're not going to provoke a walkout because, as you say, you're unique. Therefore you need to understand and diffuse the situation solo, which is a lot more challenging.

She seems to have her head wedged about respect. You showing up late is clearly disrespectful in her mind. This is why she confronted you in front of the entire class rather than ask you to stay after class. Once you called her on the fact that she fucked up, she couldn't back down because then she'd look foolish (yes she looks foolish anyway but foolish and proud beats foolish and cowed).

You need to go to her office hours, tell her you're late to her class because of scheduling conflicts entirely beyond your control, and as you're not at fault you'd appreciate it if she'd be an ally rather than an enemy. Then let her know that if she couldn't come to some resolution that will help you graduate, you'll take it up with the dean.

She'll lose. She knows she'll lose. You're giving her an opportunity to save face.

You don't have to like her. You don't have to like it. But with as much going on as you have, take the easy way out.

posted by FirebrandRoaring: 251 days ago