I’m done with my general chemistry course for the semester. It has been both a frustrating and rewarding semester. A student’s success in freshman chemistry has more to do with what attitude they bring to the table than it has to do with innate ability. Students that develop good study skills and self-discipline can easily survive a general chemistry class, and my section was set up to provide a framework for developing these skills. We had weekly tutorials, we assigned and actually graded the homework (a rarity in large general chemistry sections), we had many extra office hours, we had a group of excellent teaching assistants. We had all the bells and whistles we could think of to help the students make it through the class.
The amazing thing to me is how resistant some of the students were to the extra features of the “special” section. Everyone has had students like this: they sit in the back of the lecture hall, listen to their iPods during lectures, do the minimum number of problems, never speak up in tutorials, never come to office hours, complain about the difficulty of the tests, never pick up their tests to learn from their mistakes, and always always always blame the instructor and teaching staff for their grades at the end of the semester. During a discussion about these students, a senior colleague dropped this ruby:
Education is the only commodity that the consumer wants less of than the producer is willing to provide.
[tags]education, chemistry, pedagogy[/tags]