Chemistry Woes/Advice for dropping class

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by skater, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

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    DD is in her freshman year at a community college. She took two classes last year and did well, so she went in feeling good about her abilities. She is typically a straight A student - even in the harder subjects, and she enjoys Science.

    Here is the problem. She currently has a grade of 55 in Chemistry and this grade is higher than the class average. The instructor says he won't grade on a curve. He does things like teach part of a class and then says "Bye" when he's tired of teaching (and she is sitting there wishing he would teach). When he can't figure out power point, he won't use the blackboard and everybody's lost with his verbal ramblings. The first major exam was too long, so he tells the class mid way through the test that he will only grade what they were able to complete. So my DD slowed down and worked hard on what she was able to finish. When he returned it, he apparently changed his mind and everybody got zeros for the uncompleted sections. From everything she is telling me, it sounds like he doesn't teach.

    I think she probably needs to withdraw from the class to save her gpa and try Chemistry again with a different instructor. I think she should first talk with her advisor, the instructor, and maybe even the department head about this situation. I don't think she can trust the instructor to be straight forward with her based on things he has said in the past and then backed out of. My DD just wants to quietly drop the class. Any thoughts on how I can convince her that she should at least discuss the ramifications of dropping a class with her advisor and possibly ascertain if the Chemistry Dept. is really going to allow the majority of the class to fail with no chance of fixing the situation? Or do you think I should just let her handle it the way she chooses?
     
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  3. The Mystery Machine

    The Mystery Machine Sunrise at my house. :+)

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    Let her drop that POS class like a stinky turd. Man what a lousy teacher!:furious:
     
  4. rgf207

    rgf207 DIS Veteran

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    A few things

    1. Welcome to college. As your DD is figuring out, college != high school
    2. Dropping a class simply to save a GPA is not the right decisions. GPA's don't mean much in college.
    3. Will the chemistry dept. allow an entire class to fail? Sure they will. Again, college != high school.

    Have her talk to her advisor. That's what he/she is there for. Take the advice he/she gives. Simple as that.
     
  5. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

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    Her gpa will matter when she's trying to transfer and continue to receive scholarships. I think I will push her to talk to her adviser.
     
  6. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

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    :rotfl: Thanks!
     
  7. rgf207

    rgf207 DIS Veteran

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    Scholarships yes. real life, no. You didn't mention scholarships. I still say talk to the advisor
     
  8. Kellydelly

    Kellydelly DIS Veteran

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    I don't know what planet you live on, but here on earth they sure do mean something, especially if you are trying to get into many community college programs like nursing, RT, etc. GPA means everything when you are competing for scholarships and also spots in special programs.

    I would let your daughter drop this class and get a different instructor next time.
     
  9. Sadie22

    Sadie22 DIS Veteran

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    GPAs mean a lot as far as keeping scholarships, when applying for additional scholarships, when transferring from community college to a four-year, when applying to certain programs, when applying for graduate school. They can mean a lot to a student's self-esteem.
     
  10. rgf207

    rgf207 DIS Veteran

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    I live on earth also but here in the real world (workforce, post-college), GPA's mean just as much as memberships in collegiate clubs.

    As I stated above, the OP did not mention anything about scholarships so there was no way I could have known she was competing for scholarships.
     
  11. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

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    You definitely nailed it. And her self esteem is taking a beating. I don't necessarily think its terrible that she's struggling in a class - it hits most of us at some point. I don't even think its terrible that she has a difficult instructor - life is full of difficult people. I just wish it was a little more manageable because I know she can do it. I am wondering if at some point, she should speak to the department head. This teacher is newly hired and maybe he needs some feedback on his teaching style.
     
  12. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

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    You are correct in that once you're in the real world, gpa's mean little to nothing. Its just that she's a long way from the real world yet :goodvibes. Thanks for your advice about seeing the adviser though. I think I will push her to do that, and hope she follows through. I think her adviser can give her um... advice about how to proceed and how to make this class up in time to protect her record.
     
  13. HM

    HM My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.

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    Almost everyone I knew in college flunked Chemistry class the first time around, especially if they took it as a freshman.

    I agree with having her talk to her advisor about what will be best for her.

    Kids in our HS taking AP Chemistry are having their butts handed to them too. These kids who are used to straight As are working hard for Cs.
     
  14. The Mystery Machine

    The Mystery Machine Sunrise at my house. :+)

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    I have to chime in there! My dd is taking Honors Chem in 10th and is having her butt handed to her as well.

    I met with the Chem. teacher after she flunked the first test and he said, well I guess she figured out she has to STUDY.:lmao:

    That being said, I would drop the college class. The teacher sounds like he sucks to the max.
     
  15. rgf207

    rgf207 DIS Veteran

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    yes absolutely. I fought so hard for my "C" in my freshman chemistry class. It was probably the toughest class I took.

    The big thing for your DD to learn is that college is way different from high school. I coasted through high school with A's and college knocked me on my butt. If she can adapt to the professor and stay in the class, that's what I would do. It would not be a good idea to drop classes because they are difficult as many more classes will be that way :)
     
  16. kamik86

    kamik86 DIS Veteran

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    1) What is the date she can drop and not have to pay for the class or have it show up on her transcript? Has this day passed? If not drop before then and ignore the rest of this post.

    2) If that day has passed what happens if she drops does she get a W (withdrawn) and nothing happens with her GPA or does something else happen at her school?

    3) Does she have friends in this class that agree with the issues? If so all of them should go to their adviser. I had an awful teacher in college and when he did some of those awful things we went to our adviser and the dean ended up having a frank discussion with him about doing his job. (note I was doing ok in the class even before that as I had taken something similar in high school but still supported those in the class that didn't on the fact that he REALLY wasn't teaching)

    After all this is done make a decision. But even if she drops the class she should talk to the adviser. Professors can get away with alot yes but they do still have to answer to the other faculty especially if they aren't tenured. (My awful teacher was an adjunct) However it is also an incredibly good skill to be able to learn from the book without needing to really have the instructor. This saved my but more then once in college when we had teachers that weren't bad enough to really be able to say they weren't doing their jobs but were teaching in a way that was hell for many. Including a class with the instructor changed half way through.
     
  17. HM

    HM My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.

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    I forgot to mention in my earlier post about my friends flunking their chem class. Most of them took it again and did better. Just thinking about a couple of them...they went on to become a pharmacist and a surgeon.
     
  18. redrosesix

    redrosesix DIS Veteran

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    Agreed! And I have to add that although classes are important, in any science course it's the work you do on your own and in the lab that really makes a difference. Your professor isn't the only one teaching you -- there are lab techs and tutorial leaders there to highlight the important points. So your daughter's marks may not be only the professor's fault. I second the advice to talk to the advisor, but she may be missing some of the basics in chemistry and might need to study harder and get more help. Or chemistry might not be for her.

    I actually started out first year economics failing on the assignments - I put some extra work in and I got it! Happy to say I now have my Masters in Economics -- it was straight A's after that.
     
  19. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

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    There definitely could be some other factors than the teacher, and I haven't ruled out the possibility that there are some good life lessons here. (But aren't they painful to go through :rolleyes2). I know that she can learn Chemistry, but it is probable that she will need to work harder on it. She may decide to hold off on Chemistry until she gets to her 4 year school, or she may take it again at the community college if there is a different instructor. She will most likely be planning a career in Nursing/Animal Science or some other science field, so she will need to get through it at some point.

    I was blessed with a wonderful beginning Chemistry teacher and managed to get through 3 semesters of it with few problems. Unfortunately, I don't remember much of it to help her. She has tried to get a tutor, but the school hasn't been able to help her with this.
     
  20. ZephyrHawk

    ZephyrHawk Confirmed Disneyphile

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    I had a similar (though not quite as bad) situation with my second semester Freshman Organic Chemistry professor. Note that this was 2nd semester, so everyone in it had already gotten through the first half of the course (with an awesome teacher). The replacement professor had just learned he'd lost his tenure at the school and, since he was a foreign national, would likely have to be heading back home. He basically didn't care about us at all. The difference between your DD's experience and mine was that our guy DID grade on a curve. I remember getting an early exam back with 26 out of 114 points and realizing, given the class average, that it was a B grade and I wasn't doing so bad. I had at least 2 friends drop the class after that test.

    Should she drop the class. Almost certainly. Should she talk to her advisor. Yes. Sometimes a school will be willing to let an entire class fail, but often they are not. Regardless, they will want to reprimand their teacher if and when they find out about what he's doing to their paying students.
     
  21. disfan07

    disfan07 DIS Veteran

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    GPAs mean a lot when transferring and trying to get into competitive grad programs.

    I went to community college and transferred into a very competitive university ( where I am currently) and they required a minimum 3.0 to transfer into my major. Most of the transfers had 3.5+ ( I had a 3.03)

    Also, a minimum 3.25 GPA is required for the post bac programs I am applying to ( some programs have a minimum 3.5 GPA)

    GPA DOES matter. Is it the ONLY thing that matters...no. But it is very important at this stage in life. Once you make it into the work force, " real life" no it doesn't really matter, but you have to make it there first.
     

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