By Zarmminaa Rehman
As we come to the end of our first proper semester of in-person classes since winter 2020, it’s safe to say that professors are at their wit’s end. How could you not be when you’re subjected to seeing the drooping pubescent faces of over a hundred-something young adults day-after-day? It seems valid.
The Eyeopener wanted to give a voice to our “beloved” professors and so we set out to hear what they had to say. To the surprise of no one, they had a lot to say, as in a whole page worth, with many follow up voice notes and emails of things they had forgotten.
Sikand Tyred, an entrepreneurship professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, said he can’t bear to spend any more time teaching, even though it had been his lifelong passion since he himself was a doe-eyed and ambitious undergraduate student. Here is what he told The Eye in a very real emailed statement when asked how his semester back in-person has been:
“Ever since I was a youngling, talking has been my armour. Talking my way out of everything. My mother said I would never get anywhere but look at me now. I am a professor at a renowned university in Toronto.
I wish I could say I have that same passion to talk and teach now—it is all I ever wanted to do but I cannot continue under these conditions.
These students make it impossible to stare at them and find the inspiration to continue lecturing. Life was more fulfilling for my teaching agenda when all I saw were rows of black boxes decorated only with the emails of my students. Sure, there would be the odd fellows who decided that they wanted to participate and turn on their cameras but I could easily combat that ordeal by pinning the screen to my own box. Being online made my life a whole lot easier and I was content.
Now though, when I wake up in the morning, my day is ruined when I remember that I have to teach in-person. Knowing I have to stare out at a dingy yellow-lit lecture hall and explain the joy of becoming an entrepreneur to expressionless faces is as appealing as watching paint dry.
All I can think as I look at the half-filled seats is how ungrateful all of them are. If I had a nickel for every time I saw someone yawn or crunch on the loudest vegetables known to man—carrots and celery—I would have enough to start my own university.
Do these kids not understand that they are learning valuable information and keys to success? The same students, everyday without fail, ask me the same questions. Was my email not clear? Did you skip over the entire syllabus where I bolded the assignment instructions? Why must you come to me in-person and ask me something I answered yesterday?
And don’t even get me started on office hours. No! I do not want to hold office hours anymore and if I do hold them, it’s against my will. Nobody wants to come on-time and when I decide it’s time to head out and enjoy a nice warm beverage, someone waywardly knocks on my door to force me into a dull conversation where once again, I contemplate if maybe I should have just forgone getting a PhD and worked at one of the banks on King street.
Now that we’re back in-person, it also feels like I’ve been in a line-up all semester. Whenever I want to eat: line. Coffee break: line. Getting to my own class: line! I’m stuck in so many lines that I am unable to leave or speed through.
Oh look! As I’m writing this another student just asked me about office hours that I know they won’t come to! And why do their questions never end but start with ‘Oh also?’ I already discussed this in my lecture 15 times already.
Well, I suppose I should wrap this email up now as I have just received another “important” faculty meeting invitation that I must urgently attend. There truly is no spare minute for me to rest and rant anymore. For two years, emails and Zoom meetings were perfectly fine but now they’re asking me to trek all the way to the third floor of a building located above a Canadian Tire and cut my break time short?
I didn’t realize that my life must now adapt to these new occurrences.
Must I be subjected to watching students fail to quietly leave in the middle of my high-priority lectures? How long should I have to stand the hoard of students running around in every direction I turn? How often can I ignore the buzzing of the daily BeReal notifications against the unstable lecture tables?
There has to be another way. I might just quit teaching and start pursuing a career as a business influencer. At the very least, the people who will consume my content will actually somewhat care for it.”
Comments have been edited for length and clarity.