In the last post (which was written almost two weeks ago – geez, I need to get back to writing more here), I ranted quite vigorously about one of the teachers at my university and how crappy his classes and assignments were. Well, so this is kind of an update on that, and it has a good and a bad note. However, I don’t want to rant as much now, because I am in a good mood, and I admit that, indeed, I overreacted. Maybe.
You see, education in Brazil is old-fashioned. Even before going abroad and studying in Netherlands, I had already got pretty mad at how things were carried out here, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to me to find everything the same way it was before (which I wrote about in another previous post). The thing is: I stand up for what I believe, so much that I wrote a direct and signed letter of suggestions to the beforementioned teacher. The other thing is: it seems to have had an effect. Classes have been a bit more interesting, and the dull assignments are less plentiful, giving some space to more thought provoking ones. I’m also trying to do some changes on my part, for instance, by being more active on that online platform the teacher decided to use. Things are not perfect, as expected, but you know: baby steps.
It led me to realize that the teaching/learning process is not only about the teacher or the student, it’s about both of them. While I was ranting about the classes being crappy, I did not mention that I am a terrible student. If none of them try to be a little bit better themselves, there is no motivation for the other party to try to get better too. Well, so yeah, that was the good news. Now, the bad news is that I didn’t realize that I would bump into an even worse class.
So here is a little bit of backstory: I took a course on Quantum Physics 1 when I studied in Netherlands, and I thought I could ask for credits on the Quantum Physics (which is some kind of introductory and redundant course on modern physics – I seriously don’t know what the balls it is doing in our curriculum) class at my home university. However, the institute’s board decided to give me the credits on Quantum Mechanics 1, said to be the best equivalent to the course I took abroad. The weird thing is that this QM1 course has the QP course as a prerequisite, and the board did not give me the credits on it (because I lacked enough credits for both of them), even though they did for the more advanced course. Later I discovered that it was only one of the members that voted against me having both, but whatever – no grudges, his reasons were fair. But, man, couldn’t they cut me some slack?
So, bottomline, I had to enroll in the Quantum Physics course. Which is dutifully taught by the oldest professor at the institute. And, you guessed right, his teaching methods are just as equally old, so much that his are the only classes to be compulsory. Yep, they are crappy and I cannot simply stay and study at home, because I will fail the course even if I get a 100% score on the tests. But enough ranting, this post is not about it, because I have already ranted to the former coordinator of the Physics department (he is actually quite cool with being honest and open with the students). What he, and some other students that I talked with, said is that I should stop complaining and simply accept things as they are, because there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it. No chance, nada. I have to take the QP course, and go to the classes.
And you know what? Fine. Just: fine. What the fucking ever. If there is nothing else to be done, so be it. If this is what it takes for me to be an astrophysicist, then I will play along. It’s not that old coot that will stop me from pursuing my career, and I kinda feel there will be a lot more people like him in the future that I will have to deal with, so better practice now, right? *sigh*