Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I’m there to learn, too.

I like to think that I'm a somewhat charitable person. If I see a person in genuine need I don't mind helping them out. Similarly, if I'm asked to help someone else out and I know that I can do it, I don't mind helping.

What I DO mind, however, is being taken advantage of.

I don't mind giving someone a hand up, but I don't give hand-outs routinely.

During the first week of Math class, my professor asked me to take notes on carbon paper. She didn't tell me why. At first I expressed doubt that she'd be able to understand my handwriting (My first Chemistry professor described my handwriting as looking 'like a spider fell in an inkwell and nearly drowned, but somehow managed to drag itself out and crawl across the page') but when she said she thought she'd be able to understand it just fine I agreed. It wasn't until the end of the second week that I found out the carbon copies were for another student who had less-than-stellar note-taking skills (coincidentally one of the students I had traded contact information with the first day of class), and when I realized I wasn't angry or irritated at all. Like I said, if he needs help and I can give that help then why not, right?

So, I went on taking notes quite happily…until today.

We had an exam on Monday. I revised on and off all weekend, practicing and practicing, making note of my mistakes and trying not to repeat them. Saturday morning I got a text from the student I make notes for, saying (this isn't verbatim) 'pls help, I need the answer to:' and giving me a math problem.

'Hmm. Do I give him the answer to the problem, or do I tell him how to figure it out?' I thought. I texted him back, giving him the answer. After all, it was the first time he'd asked me for help.

Five minutes later, I got another text, asking for the answer to another problem. This time I sent back the pointers he'd need to solve it for himself. Moments later I got a text saying 'but what is the answer?', and seconds after that, another text with another problem. And another. And another.

I saw a pattern forming. I sent back a few words saying that he had the same notes I did and that all the answers he needed were in those notes. Then, I texted and said that I was at the movies and that I had to go. I wasn't in the movies, I was at home, but he didn't need to know that.

Before class yesterday, he asked me for solutions to more problems. Luckily, the exam had commenced, so I didn't have a chance to tell him that I wasn't there to do his work for him.

Today, we started a new chapter. As usual, I took notes on carbon paper. Out of curiosity, I turned to see what this kid was doing whilst I was taking notes for him.

He was drawing.


I was sitting there, taking notes that are more comprehensive than I would usually take because I realize that someone else has to understand them too, and this motherfucker was drawing. He pesters me on the weekend and asks me to do his homework for him, and now I'm doing all of his class work for him too? Not bloody likely.

Have a mentioned that this kid can be a wee bit aggressive about some stuff? He can…which only added to my frustration and trepidation about confronting him.

So, after class, I spoke with the professor. I told her what happened over the weekend, what my reaction to it was, and that he's just drawing in class instead of making notes. She said that the idea was that MY notes were supposed to supplement HIS, NOT be his sole source of information for the class. She said 'you must feel a little used'…and she's right. I do. I feel taken advantage of.

She's going to talk to him. I don't know exactly what she's going to say and it's none of my business. As long as he gets the point that class is for EVERYONE and that EVERYONE should be taking notes to the best of their ability. After all, I'm there to learn, too.



Rach said...

Hear hear!

I totally agree with you!

RapidResponseDoc said...

I'm sorry, but I have a biiiiig issue with this. Your professor was downright sneaky, and underhand. Why did he not tell you at the outset why he needed your notes? How can he just take your work and give it to someone else without your knowledge or permission? I have been asked in the past to help and support weaker students, and also have given of my time freely. But this is taking it too far. As for what the student was doing in class, nuff said.