Not true. You didn't turn in the assignment; ergo, you "earned" your zero. Period. If he'd given blanket zeroes to a class because he didn't like the way you formatted your paper or something, you might have a case. But not doing your work just gives him the power to lower your grade. And you're not likely to get that zero thrown out. I am a teacher, and if half or more of the class just decided not to turn something in, they would all get zeroes, no questions asked.
Your best bet would be to chat with the head of the department and tell him or her your concerns about this teacher and his lack of fairness. Avoid hyperbole at all costs. Seriously. Just explain that you feel like no matter how hard anyone in the class works, it's impossible to make a decent grade, and that's discouraging for everyone in the class. Explain that this person is teaching THREE of your classes, and you're concerned that you're fighting a losing battle. That you want a fair shot to study hard and make a good grade. You should be able to get a meeting with the head of the department. But if you exaggerate, you will not be listened to or taken seriously. And you will need concrete examples to back it up. No one's going to just take your word for it.
THIS!!!!!!! Excellent post. Couldn't have said it better myself. Again, in WRITING.
If you are interested in language, words, linguistics, or foreign languages, check out my blog and read, post, and/or share.
Thanks for the people who posted the encouraging posts.
@Little Linguist and Tallulah: Please... I know how you think about resolving the whole problem with all these reasonable suggestions (most of which I tried). I've discussed everything throughout the thread.
A professor cannot just give 0s to the whole class and everything will be fine. It is not how it works in the university. Whether school is different it wouldn't matter. The university wouldn't like to see a whole bunch of A students with a GPA higher than 3.5 get Fs in a subject. It just wouldn't be labeled 'fair'. Btw these students all did their work. They just didn't hand it in.
It's quite troublesome to summarize most of what I said in this thread to explain what you find puzzling. Now I know you're both teachers but I don't know whether or not you're taking the side of the teacher because he is a teacher. Forget he is a teacher for one moment. Imagine trying to explain to someone in the mental institute how the theory of relativity works. That's what it's like 'reasonably' talking to him.
If you thought I'd get him fired, I don't think I can.
But if you thought I'd let him have his way forget it. I want something done about his unfairness and cruelty. It could ultimately affect my future.
I've had him in a different class today so most of the students were different to the ones yesterday. He didn't pay any attention to me in class though.
I talked to the assistant teacher about what's happening. She said the head of architecture will officially do something about our problem. We don't know what he'll do yet. It seems the second petition worked better than the first.
Hopefully more change will happen soon.
RagingKatsuki's actual thoughts on these other posts:
Omg why are these people asking me the SAME questions over and over, while they know that I'm not going to change what I'm doing? They just don't understand the context or situation fully, and are misjudging everything. God this is annoying.
^ It's up to the person reading it to believe what they wish. It all begins with the perception of how one views the poster (me in this case). If one views me in a different way they wouldn't think of it as one sided. It's all questioning and assuming whether or not I'm the one who's wrong.
Here is a thread that looks incredibly familiar, to say the least.
1/ I teach Landscape design in the third year of an Architecture school.
2/ And we already faced students who complained because we were "too harsh", and that threatened to fire us.
So now, imagine my suprise!
The class we have is considered to be extremely hard and very elitistic (it's a choice). As a matter of fact, barely half of our students are allowed to pass into the next semester. Among a group of, let's say 30 people, only one or two will receive grades like 15/20 and better (in the US, it would be B+ or even A-).
So yes, we faced many complaints.
4 years ago, a guy even tried to get us fired under the same pretense, with more or less the same explaination I've read here. He made several of his peers sign a petition, harassed our dean, and even sent us threatening letters.
Chances are Ragingkatsuki may be correct about his professor. After all, I don't know the poor guy. But the way he describes his nemesis is also severely lacking consistency.
Everybody have had fantasies of power, and there's a countless number of students who fantasize about firing their teachers. So here, we should wonder which part is accurate, and which other is not.
When I read Ragingkatsuki saying for instance that "architectural design is only about creation", well, I have reasons to fear the worst. Because 99% of the time, only mediocre students would dare to think this: it's only a cliché, and a very bad one. So this might explain (amongst other details), why I'm not that conviced by what he said about his professor.
It's not always easy to explain to some of our students that they're not THAT brilliant, that they still have A LOT to learn yet, and that we're not giving them bad grades on purpose, but actually to help them. Most of the time, they don't realize that the gap of knowledge between a trained professor and a student is HUGE, really huge.
We know our work. They don't.
That's the truth.
99% of the time, we know exactly when they do some mistakes, even if some adamantly refuse to ackowledge it.
To pretend otherwise is just plain demagogy.
I know that the current trend within the universities is to allow students more and more freedom, representativeness and opportunities, especially in the administrative system (and this is a good trend), but allowing them to imagine that they could judge better than us what is correct and what is not, that they could replace us a competent authority is demagogy, and it's a limit we should NEVER cross.
Furthermore, to be allowed to teach, we as professors, we must already face several controls, several entrance examinations, so not everybody can do it, even with a PhD in our hand. Only the bests of the bests are allowed to teach (approximately one out of 12 candidates): it is a rare priviledge.
The students who read us should know that only fellow professors have the power to judge our competence, not them. If the matter is personal, that is of course another scenario.
I might tell you what happened 4 years ago.
We had a student who really imagined he was Leonardo da Vinci, who thought he knew everything better than everyone, and especially how to determine better than his teachers if a submitted work was interesting or not. And the guy was rather charismatic and popular, so he also was elected as the student's representative of our school of architecture. Somehow, he had a real power within our school.
Unfortunately for him, he wasn't that good in design (although not that bad either), and we gave him a 12/20 after the semester (something close to C+). Obviously, it wasn't high enough, according to his phenomenal Pride. So he immediately filled a complaint, harassed our dean and our administrative council, pretending we were "madmen" that were unable to teach (and even "clinically insane"!). Like I said, he made some of his peers fill a petition against us, to get us fired once and for all. And of course he asked if their final entries could be judged again by other professors.
So far, so good.
Our dean was very suprised, to say the least, but the whole affair grew larger and larger within the school, because the guy also wrote dozens of letters to colleagues, and spent an incredible amount of energy to unsettle us. He even spread the rumor that one of my colleague was in fact a conservative homophobic bigot (our student was a known gay activist).
And one day, we even discovered that the corridor that led to the room where we teach was entirely painted with crude insults directed towards us.
We knew who the culprits were, but then, we decided to have a serious talk with the guy. Since many colleagues were beginning to publicly ask questions about us, we accepted the first demand even if it was humiliating, so that the final entries of our students could be judged again.
But in the meantime, since we knew we were right and that the guy was far from being Leonardo, well, we did it with a little smirk on our faces...
And then suddenly, things began to turn grim for our student. Because almost simultaneously:
1/ The jury of colleagues confirmed the grades we gave. Some even asked us to forgive the fact that they might have expressed some doubts about our competence.
As a matter of fact, the final note of this special jury publicly praised the "seriousness" of our work, so we were more than redeemed.
2/ Some other students made a counter-petition explaining our class was of top-quality level. And this new petition collected three times more signatures than the one requesting our discharge.
Well, somehow we owe a lot to this student because now, everybody knows we have amongst the best landscape design class of the whole school (if not the best). It made us a tremendous publicity, and let's says that it firmly established our reputation. Now, only gifted or hard working students come visit us, and let's say that sometimes, some of our colleagues really envy us when we show them the quality of the entries we receive.
Amongst students, the word is that whoever survives this class, is clearly aiming for the Summa cum laude (mention avec félicitations) when he will later have the opportunity to become an architect.
We can truly say that now, we're almost "untouchable", and that nobody would bother to harass us again within the administration. Two years ago, when a female student tried to fill a complaint against us (because we gave her a bad grade), the reaction of the dean was to laugh in front of her.
And for the student who harassed us, you may ask?
Well, let's say that after that, his reputation was ruined, even amongst his early supports.
He eventually repeated a year after that (that wasn't our fault!). And when he was allowed to pass the final exam, he was caught cheating (he tried to plagiarize an entry submitted by a friend of his two years before).
End of the story for him.
"A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire
A very nice story. Let me just say something though. You are teaching in france, correct? I am fully aware of how things are taught there. It's system and methods are not close to mine and I believe things there must be looked at from a different perspective. I know this because I have a trusted friend who had transfered from an architectural school in france to mine.
The other professors I have are not necessarily on good terms with this particular professor so their word would also go in our favour. They know he is not giving the grades fairly and the students showed them their work too.
But just to conclude a bit of what happened so far here's what happened the past 2 weeks:
1. My Landscape design teacher was changed and my original professor was sent to teach a lower year course. (switched teachers)
2. My Design teacher (same teacher) was given another teacher to assist him in the class. We now go to the other teacher to mark our work.
3. My Interior design teacher (also the same teacher) remained the same.
So now I have 2 alternate teachers who are marking my work and I must say it's much better. He now only marks my interior design work. The dean did talk to him and I think he's warming up to the idea of giving fairer grades. We will see.
I just want to butt in for a few words: saying that the plan "to allow students more and more freedom" is "a current trend" within universities (which seems a little derogatory to me) sounds funny since basically this is the idea universities were created upon hundreds of years ago. Youngsters studying in Bologna ran everything, thus teachers REALLY had to watch their ass.
Today, dissatisfied students threaten to fire teachers they find incompetent.
In the past, they simply burned down everyting with torches until the very foundations of the universitas building.