First of all, thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
I would like to tell you about something that happened to me recently in my sociology class. I am in the second year of the UT program with a five course load. At the beginning of the semester, I registered for five courses but was placed on a waiting list and so it wasn't until after the first week of classes that I actually started attending classes.
I had no problem getting course outlines and handouts for my other courses, with the except of one course, Sociology 1120. On my first day of class, which was a week into the semester, I apologized to the instructor, explaining the reason for my absence, but the instructor said, "You'd better drop the class." That really depressed me a little bit though. Then he emphasized that he didn't want to hear any explanation about being absent. He also warned me that there was going to be a quiz next Wednesday. I was so nervous by what he said that I worked hard at making detailed class notes, and when he highly recommend "The birth and death of meaning" by Ernest Becker and talked about its six main ideas, I went to library to search for the book but I could not find it or any copies of it, not even photocopied pages.
I asked one of the librarians to help me. We found 76 reference books on reserve for sociology 1120, and not one of them was placed on reserve by my instructor. The librarian suggested that I speak with the instructor, so I went back to the instructor with that request but my request was instantly denied. He said that he never puts any of his copies or books in the library on reserve, but added--before leaving me standing there--"Can you access the public library or use any other universities' resources?"
As a full-time student I have taken many science courses at this college during last year, so I understand there are many different ways for instructors to teach. Although I didn't get any help from my sociology 1120 instructor, I still tried my best because I like sociology. (Many of the concepts really help me, an ESL student, to understand differences between the eastern and western world.) I used the other sociology instructors' reference books and copies in order to study the synopses required by my instructor.
I always show my respect to my instructors for their efforts. However, this Tuesday's lecture, when I quietly stood up to go to the washroom, my 1120 instructor stopped me at the door and took at least one full minute to say in front of the entire class, "If you want to leave the class, you do not need to come back again." I said, " Excuse me" and left frightened and in shock. I went and grabbed a cup of coffee to calm down a little bit and then went back to class. When I went in, he told me that coffee is not allowed in his class, so I put the coffee aside. After class, as I was packing up and getting ready to leave, he rushed right up to me almost yelling, "If you bring coffee in next week, you'd better go to the registration office and drop the class!" I couldn't believe that he told me twice to drop the course and, moreover, just a month before the new semester is about to start.
It really hurts me a great deal! I like sociology very much. My other sociology instructor in 1121 helps me out a lot. She not only copies the outline for me, she also encourages me to get notes from other students to cover the parts I missed. I think she treats everyone equally. When two girls left her lecture mid-way through on Tuesday, she didn't say anything to them. In contrast, the 1120 instructor really makes me feel as if I am being treated unfairly. This past Thursday two classmates brought coffee into his class and nothing was said about it.
I feel very stressed now in his class, and the pressure I feel is making it difficult for me to concentrate on the upcoming 1120 sociology mid-term. I don't want to be silence about these things, so I decide to write this to you. My hope is that we will be able to talk about this in person.
- For Teachers