Thursday, December 14, 2006

C++ Rant

So, I'm finally done with finals. Overall, it didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, but I'll have to wait and see just how bad or good things turned out. I already know I failed physics. That was mostly due to poor planning on my part. That, and the fact that the class is held at 8am, a most ungodly hour to be forced to think. At least next semester I won't have to deal with that anymore.

Now, I have a rant about my C++ teacher that I really need to get out, or else I won't be able to relax over the break. I'm kind of hoping she never hears it, though, so maybe this isn't the best place to do it, but whatever.

Hayes is evil. It's as simple as that. I used to think she was just a bad teacher, maybe getting a little senile in her old age, but that's not it. She is, in fact, a force of pure evil. I did extremely poorly in a class I'd normally love and do well in because of her. For once, I'm not screwing up because of my own mistakes. This is definitely because of her.

First, the assignments. I hate her grading system for programming assignments. Rather than simply giving a grade, she reads the code, and if it is 100% perfect in her eyes (which it never is), she gives it a check. Otherwise, she marks it NA and gives it back to you. If you turned it in early enough, you'll be able to try to turn it in again for the check. With any luck, you'll be able to decipher the incomprehensible chicken scratch that she writes all over the page, then make the changes she feels need to be made. Most of the time, these are not even serious changes. Usually, your program will work just fine, but she'll mark one part wrong because that's not the way she would have done it.

This is pure evil. I don't want to deal with that crap. I don't like doing programming assignments in the first place, so when I finish one, I just want to give it to her and block out my memory of having ever done it. If there is one small thing wrong with it, then it should just be a 90% or so instead of 100%. Grading is supposed to have a range of possible grades, so you can get partial credit for doing a pretty good job. However, for reasons I'll never understand, she feels that, in the case of programming assignments, there are no grades. There is only "Okay, good work," or "No. Do it over, or it's a zero." That's fucked up. If I do an assignment and it's 90% right, I just want to be given a 90. I don't want to have to go back and do the fucking assignment over again just because there's one little thing wrong with it. Believe it or not, I have better shit to do than write the same assignment over and over again. Beside that, I don't have the time to do it over. If I turn an assignment in on the day of it's final deadline, and it comes back NA, then that's it. Game over. I can't do it over anymore because the deadline is passed. The assignment is marked as a failure, regardless of the fact that there's only one or two lines of code that need to be changed. Is the level of malice I feel toward her sinking in yet? Well, hang on, because we're just getting started.

Next, she gives us a quiz at the beginning of every class. These quizzes are never easy, and it's damn near impossible to do well on them. Aside from the fact that they're written in her own language that few people beside her can understand, there's always just one or two questions on them, so if you get just one wrong, you fail the quiz. This was often the case for me, since I really don't know the material as well as I should. That again is not my fault, though. I explain why in this next part:

Third, she is just not good at teaching. Everything I learned in that class this year had to be learned by reading handouts, because I could not get anything out of her lectures. The woman cannot lecture. When she lectures, she always does the same stupid crap. Rather than talk equally about all the important points in a lesson, she finds one point she really wants to hammer home, then says that same point over and over and over again for the next half-hour to an hour, slightly rewording each sentence in a feeble attempt to trick you into thinking that she's saying anything new or relevant. As if that wasn't bad enough, she then illustrates her point by coming up with some bizarre analogy. She cannot do analogies. The point of an analogy is to make something easier to understand by relating it to something familiar. Her analogies are completely unfamiliar and make no sense at all to anyone but her. If anything, they cause you to have a worse understanding of the topic at hand. Examples? Can anyone tell me how the phrase "plain vanilla" relates in any way to the string class? Can anyone tell me how cin or the istream are in any way similar to "a slob that goes to McDonalds"? Somehow, in her mind, these are natural and universally understood concepts. Am I missing something here? Is it me? It's her, right?

I can't prove it, but I don't think she's trying to teach me. She's trying to destroy my psyche. I think she really must have an evil force inside her, because I am physically unable to listen to her. Whenever I try, my brain just shuts down and I black out, sometimes for minutes at a time. I swear to god, it's like every time she speaks, she's broadcasting evil psychic waves of negative energy that drain the intellect right out of me. I actually become stupider by trying to listen to her. How is that possible, unless she is, in fact, a brain-draining alien from another galaxy?

The fact that she doesn't even realize or care something's wrong drives me nuts. Hayes, think about it. If more than half the class consistently fails your daily quizzes from hell, which they do, don't you think that's an indication that the class really isn't getting the material? Shouldn't that tip you off that something is amiss? If you have to put a 20 point curve on the unit test to ensure that the entire class doesn't fail, which you did, doesn't it ever occur to you that this could be your fault? Do us all a favor and retire, before you ruin any more students. I'm out.

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