Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Oakland Story

I have to start this by saying I did my undergrad at the perfect school for me, Kettering University. Sure they weren't perfect but they were what I needed in a university. I felt that all the profs were working with the same goal, we were engineers so why not teach us what is really relevant?

I knew I was going to do a teaching Masters about half way through my undergrad because I found the program at Oakland and thought it was perfect. When they were evaluating my transcript I felt I would have a problem having enough physics classes, not math.

So I'll start with our orientation meeting where they go, 'You've all meet with advising right?' Well of course I hadn't because no one told me to so I go to meet with advising and she immediatly tells me you need to start this math class tomorrow. Yeah right. I would have to leave work early, get them to pay for the class, plus I would be late for my first Master's class. So I put off the math class.

First semester I had 2 classes, one was a 7 week class and it was a great introduction. Our prof really tlaked to us about everything. The other class was online and it was ok although the prof was hard to get ahold of and wouldn't do things she said she would. But overall not a bad semester.

Second semester was another 2 classes which were basically a waste of time. The technology class was laughable. The toughest thing we did was create a website. My problem was the prof was pro-mac and never showed us how to do the Mac things on a PC. I really think she was just in it for the money. My mom's friend actually works with this prof and they don't like her in there. The other class was classroom management where the prof told us the same stories every week, made us read a book and never talked about it and wouldn't respond to emails.

So far one good, one bad.

Third semester was actually only a month and I can't complain too much because the prof got thrown into the job a week before classes started because the person that was supposed to teach had to have emergency surgery. So not that I learned a lot but the prof tried.

Fourth semester was back to 2 classes in 6 weeks. The first was a literacy class. This was actually the class where I learned the most, the problem was they had an elementary teacher telling us how to teach secondary students so she would give us exercises that worked great in her class but high school students would laugh if we tried to have them do the same thing. The other class was special ed where we were blessed with another prof that didn't want to actually work. We meet face to face twice the rest was online. She didn't make a single peep in our converstions and then has the gall to mark me down because my response wasn't as good as someone else's, although we were told to keep responses short. I tried to challenge her but it didn't happen because she didn't respond. (are you sensing a trend?) Now you may think she was right but when she sets posting guidelines and then changes them half way through that's not fair.

Now we've come to the world's worst semester ever, at Oakland. 4 classes
1. Backward Design, this class was fine, learned lots, good prof.
2. Methods, had the worst 2 profs of my Master's program. I had a full page, single spaced in word for my evaluation for that class. I'll start with the end, we're giving presentations and what are the profs doing? They are talking to each other, making a racket, not paying attention, yet I got marked down for talking to a fellow classmate briefly during another's presentation. They also said they didn't understand how my lesson related to physics, but if they had even listened or looked at what I was doing they woudl have known. What else, how about them saying our Backward Design prof was teaching us the wrong way to do it? Or what about them bragging about how great they were as teachers when they totally sucked as profs? Let's just say I learned nothing in that class.
3. Intorduction to Proofs, this was my first math class at Oakland. The prof is probably a nice guy but not a good prof for this class. What I don't get is how if the class average on an exam is 60% that the prof can just move on like nothing is wrong. To me that says either the exam was way too hard or the prof didn't teach. We would do homework but got no answers for it. When asked to put an answer key in the libarary he said, come see me. No amount of pleading would convince him that some of us just couldn't do it. Then the fact that he never ended class on time. Class ended at 5:17 yet we were usually there until 5:25 with no break. The prof was one of those guys that are really smart but can't relate to those that don't think like he does.
4. Geometry, I knew this class was going to be a problem from the beginning. The prof taught using powerpoint and went through everything with lightening speed. We had a book that only people with phd's could even begin to understand. We had to turn in homework every week, homework that took at least 10 hours to do and even then it wasn't done or wasn't correct. After the first exam I went to talk to him to get some help. I walked out of his office feeling like I was going to cry. He made me feel stupid. I have never had linear algebra, it's not required yet this prof thought I should just know it all and wouldn't even explain it to me. When I tried to compare something we were doing to what made sense to me he gave me that deer in the headlights look like I was out of my mind. Another time I emailed him for help with a problem and he blew me off, wouldn't help.

The 2 math classes only really taught me how not to teach. I also learned to hate math. I depise it now. I never want to get near another math class in my life.

So grades come out and of course I didn't get the grade I needed in either math class so I know I have to take them over except the thought of it was making me physically sick. I decided to only take one class this fall, oh yeah, the classes I need are only offered once a year in the fall. So I take the lesser of 2 evils. I'm doing better in the geometry class but it still doesn't really make sense but I struggle through. Honestly it wasn't any better than the year before. Last day of class the prof goes, "It's been fun, but not as fun as past years because we didn't cover as much material." A huge red flag started waving in my head. So the goal is to cover material to not actualy teach it? I mean this classes exam averages where in the low 60's so obviously not a lot of learning was happening.

I get my grades and I'm so close to getting that 3.0 so I do what I never do and email the prof pleading. He says, well I'm sure you'll pass the third time. The way he said it made me feel like all Oakland wanted was my money, not to actually teach me. I felt that way through most of my classes actually. Just think how many times above I said the class was a waste of time. After that email I vowed to never give Oakland a single cent. This post will be the start of a letter I'm goign to send to the University.

I know a freshman at Oakland. Honor's student, almost perfect grades. He wants to be a teacher and was thinking about teaching secondary math. Well after his first semester taking a math class he now hates math. He doens't want to teach it anymore and won't take anymore math classes. I had always heard rumors about Oaklands math department even when I was in high school. Obviously the rumors were right. They make the classes almost impossible to pass just so they can get more money since students have to take their class again.

So that's the reasoning why I think Oakland is a worthless school that hasn't really taught me anything I couldn't read in a book.

1 comment:

Val said...

Amanda,
I'm so sorry you've had such a rough time. Have you been able to contact the Dean of Students or even higher up? I sure hope your letter gets a resolution. Keep us posted.