Scratching surface of professors’ pet peeves

With the warm weather rapidly approaching, and festivities like Spring Fling right around the corner, it’s easy to get frustrated with class – you know, the actual reason we’re all here. We get annoyed with

With the warm weather rapidly approaching, and festivities like Spring Fling right around the corner, it’s easy to get frustrated with class – you know, the actual reason we’re all here.

We get annoyed with the professors who try to keep us in our seats until the very last second, the last-minute assignments that lead to all-nighters at the TECH Center and the panic of having too much to do with too little time.

While students are often vocal about the obnoxious things their teachers may do, the teachers never seem to have a chance to retaliate. When asked what he does that seems to bother his professors the most, freshman Jon DeSantis was ready to fess up.

“Most likely not attending classes or doodling during classes would specifically be bothersome,” said DeSantis, a criminal justice major.

“Many professors don’t seem to understand that it is possible to aimlessly doodle and still take in the information.”

Anita Sanger, a senior education major,
follows along similar lines.

“I usually text or talk to a friend during
class,” she said. “I’m sure that bothers
them. Coming in late probably does, too.”

But to all you texters, don’t think you’re being crafty. While text messaging may be habit forming, and it’s probably more interesting to arrange your late-night plans or catch up on gossip than to skim John Locke for the 27th time, you may not actually be that slick. Social work professor Ruth Gillman definitely notices when students’ minds are elsewhere.

“Generally, I have trouble with students
who are not very respectful and do other things in class, such as text messaging,
studying for a test for the next class and not paying attention,” Gillman said. “They would have to know it bothers me or else they are very naive. We sit in a circle
so it’s hard not to see everything.”

Abbe Forman, a computer and information
sciences instructor, has noticed the same pattern of behavior in some of her students.

“Cell phones ringing, text messaging during class, students talking while someone
else is talking – that is disrespect in general,” she said. Junior psychology major Mandy Wright, a student of Forman’s, said he is surprised by how much Forman seems to care about her students, even when her classmates are being noticeably irritating.

“There are times when people say things in class that are obviously against the views of other people in the class, and are somewhat offensive in general, but she always handles those situations well,” Wright said. “She never gets defensive or irritated when people say these things.”

“The idealist inside of me wants to think all professors at this university care about us as much as they say,” said senior marketing major Dave Hausler. “I can notice when teachers actually care, even when the times get tough.” Currently taking an accounting course taught by Christian Wurst, he noted that students don’t always take the difficult class seriously. And then Wurst gets serious.

“He’s a very expressive professor with a certain southern tact that allows the most practical bluntness and simplicity
when trying to teach a complicated matter,” he said.

But what could possibly spoil Wurst’s southern hospitality?

“When kids just flat out lie to me – that makes me furious,” Wurst said. “I recently had a student complain that he didn’t get his exam until 20 minutes after everyone else, meanwhile, Class Capture [a software program] clearly recorded me saying ‘OK, it is now 8:15, does everybody have everything they need?'” Despite these little stressors, Wurst remains confident that such behaviors are part of growing up.

“I love the kids and think that our kids are the greatest,” he said. “The peevish
behavior is part of being a kid.”

Ayala Guy, who teaches for both the Jewish Studies and critical languages departments, is equal in the amount of adoration she has for her students. Always with a smile on her face and eager to connect with students in a positive way, Guy couldn’t think of a single thing about working with students that she dislikes.

“I don’t really have any student pet peeves,” she said. “I guess if my students did things like talk on their phone in class, then I would be bothered. But, for the most part, my students are very good. I’m very lucky.”

Professors know they aren’t perfect. Forman has an inkling that group projects and a cumulative final may make students less than thrilled.

“I know for a fact that I have many shortcomings,” Wurst said. “My wife often reminds me of them.”

Jessica Cohen can be reached at

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