Top things students hate



by Hope Smith

Enforcing strict rules about texting. Forbidding Facebook on laptops. Going off on irrelevant tangents. Requiring unnecessary textbooks.

Instructors are not the only agitated individuals in the classroom. Sometimes the tables turn, and the instructors annoy the students, too.

Last week, the Kernel took an online poll of more than 100 professors to find out their biggest pet peeves in the classroom. Some disliked phony excuses and disruptive conversation, while others could do without texting in class and repeat nappers.

Now an online Kernel poll reversed the discussion, asking students what professors do that annoys them most.

Requiring unnecessary textbooks was the poll’s leader, with 88 percent of students wishing the money they dished out for textbooks was at least put to good use. Professors requiring books written by themselves got 30 percent of the voters.

Many students are annoyed when an instructor holds class over or uses the entire class to lead discussions when there is nothing to discuss.

Lecturing past the end of class annoyed 56 percent, while 28 percent disliked excessive personal references.

“I don’t like when the professor talks too much about off-subject material,” Whitney Nicholas, political science sophomore, said. “It’s fine if they want to tell us about a really cool movie or something they did recently, but when they do that I can’t concentrate on what they’re actually trying to lecture about.”

Some students feel professors don’t always speak loudly or clearly enough, which wasn’t mentioned in the poll.

“Sometimes I will sit in the middle of the classroom and I still can’t hear what the professor is saying, so I don’t think anyone in the back can hear them, either,” Travis Greenwell, civil engineering freshman, said. “And I know they can’t help it and they’re trying their best, but accents can make classes really hard to get through.”

Though not recorded in the poll, another annoyance is forbidden laptops during class.

“In one of my classes, students who use laptops are only permitted to sit on one side of the room so they don’t distract others, and in one of my other classes, laptops aren’t allowed at all,” Samantha Montgomery, biology freshman, said. “But it’s ‘the thing’ to have a laptop, and I actually use mine for notes a lot.”

A handful of students around White Hall Classroom Building said cancelling class without advanced notice could be higher up on the poll than the actual numbers show.

Online, 22 percent of the 50 voters said receiving late notices about class cancellations annoyed them.

“Professors sometimes cancel class by e-mail last-minute, and I won’t see it in time and walk all the way to class,” Nicholas said.

Boring lectures was also one of the annoyances.

“I hate when professors put all their notes on a slideshow and just stand up in class and read directly from the screen, flying through with no explanations,” Jerome Chandrakumar, business management junior, said. “If you’re going to do that or teach straight out of the book, I’d rather just teach myself.”

Instructors who make students feel dumb when they ask questions annoys 46 percent of voters, while changing syllabus assignments or due dates annoys 28 percent of the participants. The least annoying action, according to the poll, is professors who use red pens to grade student work. This annoys 2 percent of online poll participants.

While students can take steps to be less annoying and more enjoyable in the classroom, instructors have some behaviors they can adjust, as well.