General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Professor is struggling, and everyone suffers.

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finecabernet:
I'm an adjunct and can get pretty frazzled and overworked, and while I can sympathize she should not be making the students suffer. In my community college, it would be the dean (not sure who you'd go to at a large university). To avoid potentially torpedoing yourself, try your own adviser first. It's actually pretty sad because Helen is biting off more than she can chew and totally screwing up her chances of getting a full-time job (let's face it, she's probably doing just as badly at her other schools). Eventually student complaints (if there's enough of them) will take care of the problem.

Deetee:
I was a TA and a sessional (adjunct professor) instructor.
Two things:

1) Her work load is ridiculous. 2 course plus making up the labs is a crazy amount of work. Plus she has other courses. At our university a full course load is teaching 4 sections. And you had better be on the the second or third time through on most of those. At the college I taught a full load was 3 sections lecture plus 3 sections lab, but the lab was out of the manual and prepped for you so teaching the lab meant a lot of marking but not much else.

2) That does not excuse her teaching AT.ALL. The previous is just to explain that she has way way more than she can handle.

3) I vote approaching the chair. This is not my first suggestion but you have already approached her several times and ways AND she seems willing to blame you. It is easier to deflect blame if you have already approched the chair in a non confrontational manner with your concerns and made it clear that you are trying to do what you can to teach this course and communicate with the instructor. (Much more believable to say "This is what I am doing right now" than "Oh I did some stuff a while ago")

4) This is the chairs job, not yours to make sure she is teaching adequately. (At the university, the chair came and sat in on random lectures by the sessionals when they first started to double check our style)

SPuck:
I say if you are going to approach the chair do it with a unite front with all the other TA's involved. If an unprecedented number of students are failing or dropping out across the board, it is not you it is the teacher and it is better for everyone if someone(s) with more power bring this situation up to the person in charge.

TZ:

--- Quote from: Deetee on November 23, 2012, 11:58:24 PM ---3) I vote approaching the chair. This is not my first suggestion but you have already approached her several times and ways AND she seems willing to blame you. It is easier to deflect blame if you have already approched the chair in a non confrontational manner with your concerns and made it clear that you are trying to do what you can to teach this course and communicate with the instructor. (Much more believable to say "This is what I am doing right now" than "Oh I did some stuff a while ago")

--- End quote ---

This. Helen has already shown that she won't hesitate to throw the TAs under the bus when she is inevitably called out for her poor teaching. You need to cover yourself by preemptively going to the chair and raising your concerns.

When I was in grad school, I TA'd for a professor who provided a grading rubric for the final exam that resulted in most students getting a "D." The criteria for each question were so specific that our hands were tied when it came to giving extra points. A lot of students complained to me, and I let them know there was nothing I could do but encouraged them to take their complaints up the chain. The other TAs did the same.

The professor received so many complaints that he was forced to raise every grade in the class. We discovered that he had blamed the whole fiasco on the TAs when the department chair accidentally copied us on an email blasting us for grading too harshly and destroying student morale. They were shocked when they lost all their good TAs to another writing department the following year.

bopper:
Ask the department chair how to handle the issue.

Hint to the students that they should talk to their Dean.

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