When you take college chemistry at my school, you’re required to take a discussion course. My professor grades us during discussion for working on a problem set (1 worksheet) together as a group. I usually work with people who seem alive and alert and aware. This week, she assigned us groups. I dealt with two students who didn’t know how to do extremely basic algebra, and one student who seemed scared and lost. I was beyond annoyed. I snapped at them. She’d literally just given a lecture a little more than an hour ago and spoon-fed us the problem solving techniques. It’s basic algebra. I’m not helping people who have nothing to offer me.

Which is mean and unkind, and I wish I had more patience. I don’t know if I do or if it’s weird that I don’t. I’ll have to ask.

Last week in Bio, I painstakingly prepared notes we would be allowed to use on a review quiz over genetics. The professor thought she was being nice and put us in partners. I loathe having to explain to people that there aren’t 46 copies of a single gene. I really hate having to argue and debate about it because they couldn’t be bothered to check their homework with Google.

Last semester, in Microbiology, this woman in her forties with two kids refused to learn how to do the very simple and very basic math one lab (our last one) set out for us. she simply wouldn’t look at it. She could not do dilution factors. She wants to be a nurse. She can’t add exponents. She can’t convert from milliliters to liters or between milligrams and grams. That’s unacceptable for a prospective nursing student. No one said anything to her.

There’s no such thing as being bad at math. No one is expecting them to solve high level problems. I don’t know what’s wrong with math education in this country. This is totally bizarre and completely unacceptable.

I know professors think we’re teaching each other, but frankly, I’m not above being mean. I have very low tolerance for other people’s laziness. We have the same chem discussion groups next week. I meanly consider bullying some group members out of chemistry. It’s not my fault they’re lazy. I know they aren’t stupid. They just don’t try. They will later, when life doesn’t work out the way they expected, and hopefully by then, it won’t be too late for them to actually put in the effort.


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