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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And now, ladies and gents, a break in your regular programming

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I need to rant.

I know it's vegan week and I should be writing about my vegan food court adventures (which I will, no worries), but in the meantime, I'm so keyed up about something that I just need to let it all out.

In addition to day-time work, I'm a part-time night student, and I'm about 70% of the way through my program (i.e., I don't want to drop it, I just want to plough through it and get it over with). This is now my third year doing courses for this program and all through, my personal reviews of the courses have been mixed. There are some courses where the prof is so amazing and inspiring and makes me want to just do anything I can to be like them. And then there are other courses....I guess the hazard of a college-level course is that pretty much anyone can teach it...and the problem is, when the school is desperate, they'll pretty much let anyone teach it.

I started a course in Special Event Coordination this week....seeing as this is a skill that will likely be very handy in current and future career paths, I have been looking forward to this course for nearly two years.

They say first impressions are lasting, but I do try not to judge people based on initial nerves or problems. In this case, however, I have no problems doing so. Let's just say if it were a date, he would be dumped. On his ass. No regrets. No nooky.

To teach a class on special events (i.e., the how-to of how to conceive, plan, execute and evaluate said event), they got a filmaker who admittedly has planned a sum total of two special events in his career (which hasn't been terribly long, as I don't think he's yet 30, likely closer to 25). To me, you need a little more experience than that to teach, or at least a wealth of background knowledge to back you up. Not to mention that having the eloquence of a fifth grader. That could help too. Now, I'm definitely not one for knocking people who lack leagues of practical experience (seeing as I am such a person), but this guy was awful.

His oral communication skills were brutal. It was the very first class, and the man had no lesson plan to guide him (and obviously did not have the experience to teach without one). He mumbled and stumbled and consistently talked about his two events that he had planned....dropping names of marginally famous people whom he'd met for two seconds. I could have handled a single incident, but the class, if you could call it such, was thoroughly peppered with such lame references. I was sick of his filmmaking career by the end of it....and I know I wasn't the only one.

And to top it all off, the guy has no background in event planning. He basically informed us that he's just going to talk about how he did it. Who knows if he's the laughingstock of the Ottawa event/arts community...he has no PLAN.

Seriously, if that's how far down the barrel they're reaching, they shoulda hired me! Fark, I could have read a textbook and studied up and come up with something much better than that crap. So now I'm stuck. I want to finish this program, but this course is an absolute waste of my time and a waste of my employer's money (yay for support though). I'm writing a letter to the college tomorrow to let them know of my concern regarding the qualifications of the teacher. I would rather that this this course had been cancelled rather than allow this knob to teach it. I can't take it. I don't think I can stand three months of idiocy and incompetence.

I'm also shocked that in a city like Ottawa, full to the brim with communication firms, event planners and the like, that there wasn't ONE person who wanted to step up and teach this course.

Note to self, next time the course instructor is TBD on the day the course starts, it's NOT a good sign.

My kingdom for an actual event planner.

/end preemption


Anonymous said...

That really sucks. I think it's pretty lame for them to not have hired someone with any experience. That being said, I found this comment: "I guess the hazard of a college-level course is that pretty much anyone can teach it...," to be kind of elitist and snobby. Could you teach a course in mechanical engineering? Because lots of colleges offer that as a course - so I don't think "pretty much anyone could teach it."

Just something to think about.

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

You may find it elitist, but you have to remember that this is a part-time evening program (not a professional program or a diploma program). So most of these courses are taught by members of the community - usually, they would find someone with a lot of practical experience who would teach from the knowlege gained over a number of years. And that is AWESOME. You can't quantify that kind of insight with any sort of formal academic recognition.

In this case, they've taken some random joe blow and because there aren't any regulations about who can teach this course (unlike at a uni level, where most people are either almost-phds or phds in the particular area), they've obviously hired someone out of desperation.

Also some food for thought - normally, it's great to have the practical insight, but in this case, it just isn't there and the guy is an idiot.

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

As an addendum, mechanical engineering isn't the best analogy to make - it's a professional program requiring concrete knowledge.

Arts tend to be a bit of a gray area when it comes to qualification/'s not at all the same type of learning or knowledge. Obviously no one would have me teaching a technical course, as I have proven myself completely incompetent in that area (time and time again :) ). BUT, let's say my background were in something like PR (which it is....sort of....)'s entirely possible that a college would call on someone in that field to teach a course in marketing, or in business writing...and that might be something I have little/no experience in, but because there isn't a concrete/set out qualification to teach, it could happen. And it does, especially in artsy night school.

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