Background for those who are unfamiliar: I'm taking an evening program at a really good university, but because it's a night program, the quality of, well, everything has been a bit of a headache and more than a bit of a disappointment. It feels a little unreal at times. I have mooching, lazy, helpless classmates; professors who don't seem to know their ass from their elbow; etc.
We finished finals 3 weeks ago now, and have gotten back grades from 3 of our 4 classes. The fourth is the professor who "lost" our midterms (told us his car was broken into and the exams and his laptop bag were taken; we re-took the same test as a take home and 4 people still managed to fail). He emailed me today, asked that I call him about my grade.
I called him, very curious and a little worried. He had four things.
One, a congratulations for having the highest grade in the class.
Two, a question: what is the passing grade for this class? I told him it was either a C or a D, depending on if it was a prerequisite, which I don't know, because I wasn't worried about getting that low of a grade. I suggested he ask the program administrator. He said, and I quote, "as I determine the curve, about half your classmates' futures depend on the answer to this."
Three, another question: "was this class somehow different from your other classes?" In other words, why did so many people fail?
The real answer to this is that he is a terrible instructor. He did not actually teach. Instead of teaching, he told stories for two hours a week, and then tested exclusively based on the textbook - and his tests were hard.
The answer I told him, while technically true, did not capture all of that. I just told him (truthfully) that he was the first instructor we have had who expected us to actually do the reading, and that many of my classmates didn't do it, or did it all the weekend before the exam. He seemed genuinely surprised by this knowledge. I guess when he would ask at the beginning of class each week, "did you have any questions from the reading?" and no one said anything, he assumed that meant everyone read and understood everything...
Fourth, he asked me what one of my classmates' name was. See, during the midterm (the one that got stolen), he sat in front of the room and read a magazine, and one of my classmates used her cell phone to google all the answers. After the test, it was the subject of much gossip, and I, upon the encouragement of SI, emailed the professor to tell him what had been observed by my classmates.
During the final, the same student has her phone out again, despite the professor clearly telling us to place everything on the floor off our desks. Professor walked over, reached for her phone; student grabbed the phone before he could, and they briefly scuffled over it (not exaggerating) until the student smacked him on the back of the hand to make him let go. The entire class had, by this point, stopped working on their finals and was staring. Professor, clearly shocked that the student had just hit him, let the phone go and walked away. The student continued to use her phone throughout the duration of the final.
So his last question was, could I tell him who that student was? He wanted to confirm that it was who he thought.
Impressive that he knows all of our names.
The whole conversation lasted about ten minutes. It was truly one of the most bizarre experiences of my life lately. Just thought I'd share since it's gotten so crazy.
ETA: oh, and you'd better believe I gave him a scathing (anonymous) review last week when the administrator sent out the survey monkey course reviews.