A Texas A&M University Galveston professor who attempted to fail every student in one of his classes this semester says widespread behavioural and academic problems in the course made him lose his love for teaching.
“I love my job and for the most part I love my students. I teach 250 students, they’re not all like that,” TAMUG professor Irwin Horwitz told Business Insider. “I’m doing this because I love it, or, I should say in the past tense — I loved it.”
The professor recounted one instance this semester when he spent 40 minutes helping a student work on a problem for class. When Horwitz said he needed to head to another class and asked the student to review the material over the weekend, he said, the student “walked three feet and said, ‘you’re a f—ing moron.'”
“What am I supposed to do? I’m a human being,” Horwitz said.
This was just one example of the widespread misconduct and apathy in his Strategic Management class this semester, according to the professor.
“I am a professional professor. I’ve been teaching for 20 years, I’ve taught thousands and thousands of students at all levels, and this class was completely unique,” Horwitz said. “This belief, this entitlement, has been so ingrained in these students … There was zero effort, there was nothing there, there was not even an attempt to try.”
Even though the Strategic Management class was the “capstone course” of the business administration program, according to Horwitz, more than half the students in the course couldn’t answer a question on the midterm about a break-even analysis. In business management, a break-even analysis is used to determine how much product you would need to sell to cover costs.
“More than a handful of them couldn’t run a Kool-Aid stand,” he said.
A student shouldn’t be able to receive a degree in business administration and not be able to answer a “simple question” like a break-even analysis, he said.
“The degree has to mean something, it has to mean some level of competence,” Horwitz said. “If I see a student who can’t do a break-even analysis … I don’t want my stamp to be associated in any way with that student.”
The professor first notified his students of their collective failing in an email sent to the entire class. In his email, Horwitz chastised them for lacking “the competence and/or desire to do the quality work necessary to pass the course.”
Since his email went viral, Horwitz’s students have come forward to defend themselves, claiming just a few bad students in the class contributed to the misconduct. The rest, they say, are being unfairly implicated by their professor.
“It was much more than two or three students,” Horwitz said. “Was it every single student in the class? No it wasn’t. But there were pockets and groups of students.”
The email, Horwitz said, “was sent to all the students to give them a big wake up call, because most of them were failing the class.”
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