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I'm taking a graduate level neuroanatomy class this semester as well as the lab that accompanies this course. Seeing as most of the students in the lab section are graduate students in the neuroscience department...exams for the course test very intricate details regarding the structure and function of practically everything in the spinal chord and the brain.

The lab practical was pretty brutal and plenty of students in the lab got scores under 80%. Luckily, I managed to emerge from the lab practical relatively unscathed (compared to my peers). Way before the lab practical, a few other students and myself organized study groups that met on Sundays for about 3-4 hours to go over all the labs. I felt that the members in my study group really knew the material pretty well because we spent so many hours going over it and made sure to help each other whenever someone was stuck or didn't fully understand something.

Well...we got the lab practicals handed back to us on Tuesday and one of the students I studied with got a pretty low score...I won't say how low it was..but it was pretty low. I felt really bad for him because I knew how much he studied for it and I literally sat with him for hours on end going over the vasculature of the brain, the ventricular system, the venous drainage system of the brain, the structure and function of all the meningeal layers, the relevant histology (fibrous and protoplasmic astrocytes, stellate cells, pyramidal cells, etc), as well as other material that was also covered.

I KNOW that he studied very hard...but here is what makes me REALLLLLLY pissed off...towards the the end of today's lab...the GSI (graduate student instructor) for the lab approaches this student and says, "Ya know...you didn't really do so well on the lab practical so we're sort of planning on having another lab practical for students that didn't do well. This 2nd score won't replace your first low score...but we're hoping that you can use it to get down the fundamentals before we move on." What pisses me off is that the ****ing bitch GSI said this IN FRONT OF ALL THE STUDENTS that were left in the lab (some students left earlier because they finished early).

I looked at the student's face and I could literally see the mixed feeling of humiliation and depression on his face. :mad: :mad: Was that comment from the GSI really necessary? Why didn't she pull him aside and talk to him in private (outside of the lab) if she was so "concerned" about him??? Why humiliate the kid in front of his peers? I felt like yelling at her right then and there. :mad: The other students in my study group consoled the poor kid after the bitch GSI was done expressing her "concern." I would have NO problem with her telling him that in private..but was it really necessary to publicly humiliate him? :mad: :mad: :mad:
 
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I completely agree with what you are saying. She should have pulled him aside. Perhaps she just didn't know any better. I had a class my sophomore year where the professor started off the first day by saying something to the effect of, "You are going to have to work extra hard for my class. If you don't think so, just ask Bob or John- this is their 2nd and third times taking the class." I felt so bad for them, but the prof is such a nice guy. I don't think he even realized what he had done.
 

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I'm sure that this will happen more than once to all of us in med. school and residency. A similar thing happend to me in college. This doesn't make it cool, but it's just the way it is.
 

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Originally posted by Gleevec
Law suit

This comment is absolutely brilliant. :rolleyes:

What DrMom said above is actually correct. Your score on any given exam is YOUR BUSINESS only...the professors and TAs are not allowed to divulge your score to other students in the class, announce your score over the PA system in your school, send out press releases with your name and score on the exam to major news networks (ABC, CBS, Fox), hand out flyers with your name and score out to random people on the street, print a banner with your name and score on it and then parade this banner down the main quad of your school, etc.

The blithering idiot TA could have easily emailed the student with her "concern" and it would have remained confidential...she could have just asked him to step outside the lab for a minute and talked with him there. Instead, this degenerate just goes ahead and blathers it aloud so anyone standing in a 20 yard radius knew that he did poorly on the test. I'm thinking about reporting this incident to the professor and if that doesn't work...I'll go to the Office of Student Conduct or whatever other bureacratic, paper-pushing office handles this sort of crap.

I will do my best to tutor this student and we already scheduled another study session for this sunday. I just don't want this idiot TA to humiliate any more students. I'm still pissed. :mad: :mad: :mad:
 

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I doubt anything will come of it if you go through the school, although it might not be a bad idea to let the TA know it was not only poor form, but also illegal.
 

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All the more reason to hate Berkeley, and Berkeley GSI's in particular. Damn them!
 

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You'll have the opportunity to complain later this semester via the student reviews, but for now, I concur with Dr. Mom (as usual). Talk to the GSI, and let her know your concerns. I'm betting that she just doesn't think about what her actions do to others - I doubt that it's some evil scheme to make your friend uncomfortable or ashamed... although, I could be wrong.

As for your friend, this person is going to be ok. I can't tell you how many times I've been in the exact same kind of situation, and I lived. :)
 
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Those GSI evaluations probably don't even get read by anyone. They probably get filed somewhere where no one will ever take a look at them or they might just get trashed. Filling out a poor GSI evaluation form probably won't do anything at all. I'm going to the talk to the student this Sunday when we get together to study to see if he wants to pursue any course of action against this degenerate.
 

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I'm not familiar with the laws regarding this issue, but if she didn't divulge his score, is it actually against the law to say "You did poorly"? Granted, it was thoughtless and stupid and inappropriate (at best), but I have a hard time imagining that a lawsuit based on those grounds would be successful.

:confused:
 

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Originally posted by KarateGirl
I'm not familiar with the laws regarding this issue, but if she didn't divulge his score, is it actually against the law to say "You did poorly"? Granted, it was thoughtless and stupid and inappropriate (at best), but I have a hard time imagining that a lawsuit based on those grounds would be successful.

:confused:


The suits I know of have all related to grades being mentioned, but they have been interpreted to cover any public mention of how a student is doing.
 

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Everyone makes mistakes.
While I was at Cal, I had some great GSI's and I had some incompetent ones as well. And I bet that goes for every institutions.

I think if you are really serious about doing anything, persuading the student to talk to professor about the GSI's conduct is the ideal way.
 

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Originally posted by Pinkertinkle
All the more reason to hate Berkeley, and Berkeley GSI's in particular. Damn them!

all my berkeley gsi's were amazing and if it werent for them, i would have had a much harder time at berkeley. and i was so impressed with them that even i wanted to contribute and hence was able to become a ugsi to help out the underclassmen that came into the class.

sorry to have a differing view from all you other haters but i just love every aspect about my school. theres no other place i would have been happy at for my ugrad. :)
 

wanderbray

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I had a professor of physics @ berkeley who, on the first day of class walked in and said something to the effect of "I hate teaching but they make me do it as part of my tenure agreement. I've tried to get out of it, but I can't and here we are. Lets get started" and proceeded to fill the boards with equations and mumble at the floor for the rest of the semester.

+pissed+


I also had a physiology prof at another insitution who was clearly behaving in highly unethical ways: teasing kids in class / belittling people's responses in class / displaying clear favoritism / etc. But he always did it just on the legal side. I was one of his targets for malignments, but in the end I just decided to redirect my anger into learning the material even better. You do whatever works for you, do it soon and don't let you or your friend be tyranized by this jerk GSI anymore by dwelling on it for the rest of the semester. ;)
 

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I had a calculus 2 professor who was sorta like that. He was a different kind of guy. He'd come in with a coffee cup and an old polo shirt and shrug. The shrug was his symbol to the class that he would be taking problems. Students would call out 8 or 10 problems and he would put them on the chalkboard. Not really explaining the problems...just doing them. Sometimes he would take the chalk at tap the chalkboard several times at what I guess he considered a key step in the problem. Then he would put another assignment on the chalkboard for us to do that night if we wanted.

I liked him and did well in the class. I wasn't interested in math and so I didn't really feel like dealing with an energetic professor explaining integration. Anyway, a lot of students were taking the class for the 3rd or 4th time. At the end of the final exam one of these students turned in his final and the professor said "So will I be seeing you again next semester"? The student smiled and politely said "No, I think it's about time to change my major." And then the professor gave a nod and a smile of sympathy that said more than he had managed to say all semester.

He probably wasn't the most popular professor in the math department, but I thought he was unique(at least for my college)
 

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I'm often shocked at what TA's will do. On my campus, everyone who has access to student records has to complete online training on the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), and, indeed, you can't mention how a student is doing in front of other students. You can't post exam grades by student number (though you can create a private number known only to you and the student and post them that way). You can't confirm that a student is enrolled necessarily. YOu can't give out phone numbers. You can't tell their mom whether they're showing up for class.

So, yes, the TA was out of line AND violated FERPA.

And the campus should take some responsibility for rudimentary FERPA training to prevent this.
 
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lizzylu

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Originally posted by BerkeleyPremed
Those GSI evaluations probably don't even get read by anyone. They probably get filed somewhere where no one will ever take a look at them or they might just get trashed. Filling out a poor GSI evaluation form probably won't do anything at all. I'm going to the talk to the student this Sunday when we get together to study to see if he wants to pursue any course of action against this degenerate.

actually those evaulations are read and do mean something. I was a UGSI at Berkeley and after the course was over the professor read through them and got a feel for what type of TA you were. Also they did some stats on the to let you know your averages, etc.

Then, as an instructor you're supposed to read every one of them. And believe me I did. Some are helpful, but most aren't and don't give you anything constructive to work with. So tell her what was good and bad about her TAing

My point is, do fill these evals out! b/c they are read and influence whether the TA (or instructor) gets hired again.
 

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Originally posted by lizzylu
actually those evaulations are read and do mean something. I was a UGSI at Berkeley and after the course was over the professor read through them and got a feel for what type of TA you were. Also they did some stats on the to let you know your averages, etc.

Then, as an instructor you're supposed to read every one of them. And believe me I did. Some are helpful, but most aren't and don't give you anything constructive to work with. So tell her what was good and bad about her TAing

My point is, do fill these evals out! b/c they are read and influence whether the TA (or instructor) gets hired again.

so very true. all the gsi's that i encountered when i was a ugsi took those things seriously because they didnt want to be seen as incompetent. i was thankful the kids i worked with were honest with me and it helped me change some of the things i do.

professor bertozzi, one of the most amazing professors at cal, was one of the most highly regarded gsi's by the students and she was rewarded well for it ;).
 

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Originally posted by wanderbray
I had a professor of physics @ berkeley who, on the first day of class walked in and said something to the effect of "I hate teaching but they make me do it as part of my tenure agreement. I've tried to get out of it, but I can't and here we are. Lets get started" and proceeded to fill the boards with equations and mumble at the floor for the rest of the semester.


at least he was honest about it. and most of the professors at most universities are there for their research abilities and not necessarily for their teaching.

but for every bad teacher there is an equally good one. my physics 8a prof at cal was so awesome and so nice. no way i would have gotten the grade i did if he wasnt so nice and helpful. he was fairly aged, but it was his first time teaching and he was kinda nervous at first...but he was great. i hope he teaches in the regular cycle now.
 

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Originally posted by BerkeleyPremed
I felt like yelling at her right then and there. :mad: The other students in my study group consoled the poor kid after the bitch GSI was done expressing her "concern." I would have NO problem with her telling him that in private..but was it really necessary to publicly humiliate him? :mad: :mad: :mad:

I think your friend should talk to the TA about it. Something to the effect of "I really didn't appreciate it when you announced to the class how poorly I did on the exam." And if she blows him off, go talk to Diamond about it. Wasn't Prof. Diamond going to Cambodia this semester?
 
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Originally posted by BananaSplit
I think your friend should talk to the TA about it. Something to the effect of "I really didn't appreciate it when you announced to the class how poorly I did on the exam." And if she blows him off, go talk to Diamond about it. Wasn't Prof. Diamond going to Cambodia this semester?

Prof. Diamond!! She's cool!
 

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Hey everyone,

Yeah, Diamond kicks ass.

jlee: I can't believe all of your TAs have been caring, brilliant, knowledge-gods. You must have had a lousy TA here or there. Everyone has. Lousy professors, too. Honestly... were your Math 1 profs fantastic, or were they barely intelligible meanies? Thought so.

Also, to the OP: don't get yourself tangled up in this unless you're sure nobody is going to get revenge on you for it. Like, if you complain to the prof your TA may make life hard on you, especially if there's a subjective portion to the lab grade (which I doubt there is, but still). Also, is it too late for your friend to switch to P/NP?

I'm starting to think this wasn't your "friend" at all. C'mon, Berkeley Premed, you know it was you. It's ok, let's work through this.

jk

~Alli
 

BerkeleyPremed

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Originally posted by Alli Cat
Hey everyone,

Yeah, Diamond kicks ass.

jlee: I can't believe all of your TAs have been caring, brilliant, knowledge-gods. You must have had a lousy TA here or there. Everyone has. Lousy professors, too. Honestly... were your Math 1 profs fantastic, or were they barely intelligible meanies? Thought so.

Also, to the OP: don't get yourself tangled up in this unless you're sure nobody is going to get revenge on you for it. Like, if you complain to the prof your TA may make life hard on you, especially if there's a subjective portion to the lab grade (which I doubt there is, but still). Also, is it too late for your friend to switch to P/NP?

I'm starting to think this wasn't your "friend" at all. C'mon, Berkeley Premed, you know it was you. It's ok, let's work through this.

jk

~Alli

lol. I wish it was me so I could tell off the TA and walk out of the class. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do. I spoke to a grad student in Statistics (who is also a friend of mine) and he said that only the student in question can file a complaint with the department (IB in this case) or with the graduate administration. I can't do much of anything except just talk **** about the TA on this website.
 

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Originally posted by BerkeleyPremed
I can't do much of anything except just talk **** about the TA on this website.

But damn... don't it feel good?

~Alli
 

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Originally posted by Alli Cat
Hey everyone,

Yeah, Diamond kicks ass.

jlee: I can't believe all of your TAs have been caring, brilliant, knowledge-gods. You must have had a lousy TA here or there. Everyone has. Lousy professors, too. Honestly... were your Math 1 profs fantastic, or were they barely intelligible meanies? Thought so.

hey alli, name me a class and i will tell you that i had nothing but the coolest ta, regardless of whether or not i liked the class due to its difficultly. my math 1 teachers was actually very good and my ta for math 1b has to be one of the best tas ever (props to darren). math 1a i cant comment on since i never went to discussion that first semester. :)()

i have been extremely fortunate i know, but dont tell me i had a lousy ta when i havent. professors? yeah i had a couple, but i was talking about tas. the ones i have had were hella chill.

professor wise...i think i can only remember 2 that i didnt like. but outside of that...i liked everyone else.

so there.
 
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