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The instructor makes all the difference

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Riverside Community College has a reputation for the high quality of its instructors and programs.

The campus is host to many strong programs that capture students from all over and the professionalism of those who teach classes can take some of the credit for that. In a general sense most of RCC’s instructors are helpful, respectful and passionate about the subjects they teach.

This makes the problem of a few bad apples stand out even greater. These instructor shortcomings are varied. There are those who are late in returning graded papers to students, therefore making it difficult for the students to track their progress.

Then there are the instructors who seem to lack an ability to deal with students in a respectful manner, dismissing and belittling those who ask questions or need help.

Wacky extra credit (that is sometimes not followed through on) and extreme tangents that have nothing to do with the class subject become trying and frustrating to the students that want to learn what they signed up to learn.

These rotten experiences only create discouragement and bad feelings towards RCC. Many students come to class eager to match the instructors’ passion of teaching with a passion for learning. In most cases these expectations are fulfilled, but when an instructor fails to meet these standards, more is lost than just a couple hours a week.

Rarely does a student look up the reputation of an instructor before enrolling in a class.

By the time a student discovers an instructor is not up to normal RCC standards, it is often too late to find another class to replace the dud. Most students are trying to achieve their certificates or degrees as fast as possible. Now the less-than-wonderful instructor has put a delay in the achievement of these goals. Replacing an instructor leaves any student poor from both wasted time and funds, as a dropped class often means being left with an unneeded and very expensive text book.

Textbooks are not the only place were money is lost. For the many RCC students on financial aid there is a delicate balancing of units and grade points.

A bad instructor creates a scenario where a student is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Sticking it out may result in a lower grade point average. Withdrawal marks never look very attractive on any transcript. Dropping the class, though, would mean the loss of those ever so important units required to stay on Board of Governors fee waivers, and Pell and Cal Grants. Then there are students who just care about getting a decent education and learning the subject.

At RCC there is often a feeling that classes are not just about keeping seats warms and collecting money. There is a strong atmosphere that is a focus on the importance of educating people. Deprived of an effective instructor, however, many students end up leaving a class without knowing much more than they did before the class started.

A bad apple still has the potential to spoil the bushel. Once the word gets out about any ineffective instructor, RCC’s reputation is soured.The RCC faculty does not deserve these kinds of blemishes on their otherwise outstanding reputation. For all the hard work that is put in, this college is better than that.

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