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Dear Professors: An Open Letter from Your Students

Dear Professors,

Let me begin by sincerely thanking you for the service you are offering me and every other person taking college classes currently. Dedicating your life to teaching the next generations of doctors, lawyer, investment bankers, and educators is a job that likely does not get much thanks. I know many professors are met with students who think they know everything and students who literally do not know anything and put in zero effort to change that, but I find that the majority of students in any given class, aside from core required classes, are engaged and willing to learn whatever knowledge you have to impart on us. So my question is why do you punish us?

Recently, I took a test in one of my classes and the professor was kind enough to allow us a formula sheet front and back with whatever we wanted with the exclusion of examples. So I created my formula sheet and color coded it to coincide with the topics being covered in class. I spent five hours in the library the night before running problems with other students, and woke up early the next day to look over the problems and slides that were used both in class and for homework. Then I took the test. Looked at the first page and the question involved a formula that i did not write down because it was not in the slides, nor the homework. I powered through and did what I thought was going to get me partial credit. As I moved through the test I realized the assessment was filled with topics and problems that were not discussed in class. I was speechless. It took me the entire class time plus the extra ten minutes allotted at the end. I never take the entire class to finish a test, and when I left the room, my friends were standing outside the door waiting for me so we could walk back to our dorm. I left and tears welled in my eyes. What just happened to me? My friends watched as about 25 people left the class all in the same disbelief as me and all speechless as to what we just endured.

The professor said it was going to be hard, and I know the saying goes you learn most from your mistakes, but I honestly don’t think I am going to learn a single thing from taking this incredibly hard test (other than to spend less time studying for the final because, it will not make a difference any way). Making tests incredibly hard does nothing to benefit the students, if anything professors who need to add more than a five point curve to their tests need to take a look at their teaching and ask themselves why their students, who are mostly completely capable people, are scoring so low on these tests. Professors, why are you making the people who show up every class and do the work you ask of them and then throw this kind of test at them? I know that you are preparing students for the real world, but we probably will not have to find the price of a stock four years from now using historical data. Plus the real world has Google!

Professors, I appreciate your desire and want to help shape the next generation of professionals, however I am exhausted from the busy work you give us and the lack of preparation before the exams. I know that you cannot simply hand us the answers, but at least give us things we’ve seen before.


Your Average Student


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