I graduated from Fairleigh Dickenson University this May, and despite there being a shooting on campus, in front of my dorm, a plague-esque outbreak of a norovirus that sent dozens of students to the hospital and an English professor who brought his screaming two year old into an exam, I was reasonably happy with my overpriced education. I have my diploma, they can't take it from me!
There is ONE professor, though, who I will ALWAYS remember as the worst professor I ever had. This man had no BUSINESS being a teacher.
At my school, they had a four-class "core program" which was meant to make students be "global citizens". As you can imagine, they were the most boring, pointless and badly taught courses in the entire school. We had to take one a year, and the last class was "American Experience" which was supposed to tell us where we all came from, make us aware of American history. All of these classes were completely insane, since anyone who had been through even the worst high school system would know about the topics discussed. It didn't help that the classes were all taught by bad teachers. New professors were required to teach one a semester, new foreign professors had to teach two and adjuncts had to teach one. We often had the most inexperienced, hard to understand or confused teachers.
The American history course is the final course, so I took in during the Fall of 06. My professor was an adjunct who only taught core classes. He was stubborn, ignorant and extremely biased. He was never on topic about what we were discussing, often had no idea what he was teaching, and fell back on trivial stories that he told us instead of actually teaching.
During that year, I lived in the dorm furthest from the class buildings. Of course, my core class was in the farthest class building. I politely told my professor that I may end up running in five minutes late a few times, because of the uphill walk from my dorm to class. He said it wasn't a problem and that he didn't take points off for being late. Well, that's cool. He also gave us an extra "grace week" to give in weekly worksheets. If something was due on a Tuesday, he wouldn't take points off if it was handed in by the next Tuesday. I started out thinking this guy was actually pretty laid back for a professor.
Then he started to tell us very bizarre stories about himself. For example, he told us how he had been a Spanish-language Catholic priest in Wisconsin. Odd, since he couldn't speak one word of Spanish and mangled the language when he tried. He told us how he had met his wife while he was preaching. Um. Okay. He went on to say that "six months after I left the priesthood, I was married and had a beautiful baby girl". All the girls in the class went "awww" while I was sitting in my seat doing the mental math that "six months does not a baby make". He later revealed he had been kicked OUT of the priesthood for an affair with the woman who became his wife and got her pregnant while he was still a priest. And this guy was teaching us?
When we discussed the pilgrams coming over to America, he demonized the Native Americans for not welcoming the pilgrams with open arms. He called them "ungrateful" and "stupid" for not celebrating the fact that the pilgrams brought "civilization and culture" to them. Yeah, culture and smallpox blankets. I was so appaled by his statements that I started to openly disagree with him. I would ask questions argueing the other side of whatever ignorant thing he had said.
Half-way through the semster, we talked about the army and how women were allowed into it. He spoke at great length about women being able to go into combat and how "silly" that was. I spoke up and said that women still can't go into combat and that the only country that allowed women in the army to go into combat was Isreal. He said "well, that explains THAT. They're MUSLIM" and went on to talk about how the whole Middle East should be "done away with".
Near the end of the semster, we spoke about the 50s and 60s and the cultural revoltion that happened during those times. He dismissed Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs as "junkie hippies" and was going to skip teaching "Howl", but I love that poem and mentioned that I did, so he HAD ME TEACH THE MATERIAL. For the entire period, he sat back and let me, a student, teach the Beat poets and their importance. I was floored that he cared so little and hated the poets so much that he refused to teach them and, instead, let a senior Lit major do it for him because he "couldn't be bothered".
Finally, at the end of the semester, we had to do our final papers about a problem America faced or is facing. He sneered at people doing gay rights and the war in Iraq. I did my paper on immigration before Ellis Island, using the draft riots in NYC with the Irish immigrants to demonstrate what happens when a country mistreats and takes advantage of it's new citizens. He interrupted me multiple times during my presentation to share his views on immigration ("send them all back to Mexico, where they came from!" because it isn't like immigrants come from anywhere else in the whole wide world).
After my presentation, I asked him if he knew what my grade would be. It was the last class, so I was anxious to know my GPA before Christmas break. He took out his grade book and started to lay into me, telling me how often I had walked in a few minutes late and how he took points off for that, or how a few times my work was a week late, and how he took points off for THAT despite having a "grace week" policy.
He tells me how I have an 80 in the course, but that he was writing it down as a C+. I demand to know why. An 80 is usually a B-. So he looks me in the eyes and tells me:
"Well, I just don't like you, AS A PERSON".
Floored, I'm left speechless as he tells me how much he hates when students "back talk" him or question him, how he thinks students should just listen to whatever they're told and accept it as God's truth, since a professor is ALWAYS right.
So my professor is telling me I'm not going to get the grade I deserve because he hates me. Not because I'm a bad student (I got an A on the midterm and a B on my final paper and presentation), but because he hates me PERSONALLY. He lied to me about his policy on being late, on turning in work, and I was getting a C because I "dared" to question him.
Absolutely sick with rage, I go to the Dean who can't do anything because it's a "he said/she said" situation and I'm left with a C+.
I still hate that professor with every fiber of my being. If THAT isn't bad service, I have no idea what is.