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They Have A Major Gap In Their Knowledge

, , , | Learning | May 18, 2018

(I work at a university with a department for students who want to be teachers. It’s the middle of registration season, and we regularly have students coming in to get help figuring out who their advisor is, as we have just switched to a new system. They also come in for many other reasons than registration, which can make it tricky to help them at times. I don’t have access to the system to look up students for some time due to a screw-up in another department. Some of the students who come in are rude or just plain dull, but this one takes the cake.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Student: “Um… I’m not sure; they just told me to come here.”

Me: “Well, where did they send you from?”

Student: “I spoke to some lady in that office in… [Administrative Building]… I wanted to sign up for some classes.”

Me: “Oh, the registrar’s office? Are you looking to find your advisor to pick out classes with you?”

Student: “Uh… I think so?”

Me: “Okay, great! Well, your advisor is assigned by your major and your class standing. What’s your major?”

Student: “Uh… Education.”

Me: “We actually offer quite a few specializations in education; which one specifically are you enrolled in?”

Student: “Oh… I’m not sure.”

Me: “Well, what is your class standing?”

Student: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Are you a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior?”

Student: “Oh… I’m not sure.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t direct you to an advisor without knowing these things. Can you log into [Student Portal] on your phone and check? I can help you find that information if you need.”

Student: “What’s [Student Portal]?”

Me: *sighing internally* “The system where you log in to check your classes, financial aid, and such.”

Student: “Oh, that. Yeah, hang on.”

(The student takes a good five minutes to log in and check. They are a junior-level student working towards a teaching degree in a STEM field. I direct the student to the right advisor, and they wander out of my office. A staff member who was sitting in my office waiting for a meeting with one of my bosses for the entire ordeal looks bemused.)

Me: “You’d be surprised how often we get students like that who don’t know simple things. That one was just excessive, though.”

Staff Member: “But… They were a junior! How? Just how? How do you get that far and not even know your own major? And they want to be a teacher?”

Me: “I really don’t know. I don’t get half of these people, either.”

Staff Member: “I’m glad you didn’t ask the student what their name was. They probably wouldn’t have known that, either.”

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