Now that I’ve had a full four years at ETSU, I’ve noticed something about the professors at ETSU. Like any school, college or university, there’s some professors I love and others I scorn.

The ones who are good at their job are professors who helped me grow as a student and as a person; they’re the diamonds in the rough, and you’ll remember them forever. Then there’s other professors you’ll never forget, but only because they were so bad that even thinking about them makes you angry all over again. These are the professors who have either given up or who never knew how to start. I can’t be sure why these teachers were so bad, but I would argue it’s not the teacher to blame for their presence in my life. Sometimes I sit and wonder, “Who hired these people?”

I’m in education now, so maybe that’s why I’m so critical of my professors and the courses they teach. I’m also reminded every week how difficult it is to be a successful educator and how straining the job market can be for educators with a B.A., M.A. or otherwise. It’s a tough world out there, and yet somehow some of these professors have been hired to teach a course at a university I deem as academically credible. So I ask myself, “Who vetted them during the interview process? What were their credentials, because I’m not seeing them.”

These professors are the ones who admit they don’t know the course syllabus, the professors who admit they didn’t even write the syllabus, that they’re just filling in, that they’re expecting our best but don’t have a comprehensive syllabus or rubric for detailing what the best means. D2L isn’t updated; dropboxes don’t exist. The list goes on.

As college students, we’re paying for every class we take. Money flows from students or scholarships and back to the university to pay these professors. It’s an unfair system if the students are simply paying for a professor to show up and read off Powerpoint slides, but more importantly, it’s unfair to the students’ learning. There’s more stress to having a professor who doesn’t know what they’re doing than just taking another class altogether; if it’s not too late to switch courses.

Truthfully I don’t care about the reason why as much as I care about the problem being addressed. If there isn’t a competent professor to teach the course, cancel the class. Offer better pay to bring in new hires, but don’t ignore the issue.