Paying tuition to learn, not to be attacked

Written by: Sharon Jones

This semester, I have had to deal with a very sarcastic and snide professor in a fine arts class. Frankly, I am highly unsatisfied with this professor’s conduct and low level of professionalism. I’ve had this problem with only this professor, who will remain unnamed.

Every so often, students will encounter a professor whom they disagree with, or may not like. But when an entire classroom full of students agrees about this pessimistic professor, there is a big problem.

As students, we are here to learn and to take constructive criticism when needed; we are not here for personal commentary. The class this professor teaches is supposed to be objective and open minded. But this professor makes the learning atmosphere extremely subjective. Students feel that they are not good enough.

A classmate who is a junior in her major said to me, “It’s not so much what is said, but more of how it’s said. We’re spoken to as if we don’t have feelings or an attachment to our hard work.” I completely agree with my fellow classmate.

We pay thousands of dollars in tuition not to mention that for this class we are expected to pay an extra $200 to $400 on supplies. We pay tuition, and work hard for our education, in order to learn new ideas and skills.

We do not pay tuition to hear rude, one-sided comments about our work, which we thought we did well on. We also do not pay to sit in class, anxiety-ridden, because the professor cannot communicate in a positive way. This makes it impossible for me and for others to want to learn from this professor.

Another classmate who is a sophomore explained how she felt to me: “I feel as if I shouldn’t even have this major because I am made to feel like I won’t be able to accomplish it”. I highly doubt the university would want to lose tuition payments because a teacher led a student to quit school.

I and my fellow classmates have endured seeing students cry. Instead of hearing what they could improve, they felt personally attacked. We’ve listened to the professor complain that students weren’t dedicated to their work. But I would say that if we are all thousands of dollars in debt because of tuition, we may be slightly dedicated to the class.

I’m paying for instruction, not for a hurtful atmosphere. It’s understandable that this may be a part of the professor’s personality. But it’s not understandable that we are paying to be talked to with such judgment, and with a tone that would rub anyone the wrong way.

Instead of showing students how to improve, this professor is scaring students away with these snide remarks. This makes learning minimal, because we don’t want to learn anymore.

It is an insult to us, as students who are trying to develop skills, and who are paying for an education. Professors are here to create an environment that is judgment free. Professors expect respect from students, and the students should, and do, expect the same respect in return.

According to the Faculty and Staff page on The University of Akron’s website, Akron has a “highly talented faculty who will help mold you.” But in this case, I would have to disagree with that statement. I only wish that, with time, things may get better, especially since I and many other students have invested an immense amount of time, and money, in this class.


Student who pays for encouragement only.