Students should come first

It was a “non-decision.” It’s unfortunate but unavoidable. It really means nothing. In other words, students should stop being big crybabies and face the jolt of having a new teacher for the last month of school like the adults they are.

These are the reasonings Dean James Norris of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences gave in response to disheartened students’ concerns and complaints upon his decision to reinstate a new teacher into their classes—a teacher whom they never expected having and at a point when less than a dozen class meetings are left before the end of the semester.

Norris should have been more open to those with suggestions. Although it is true that many times unavoidable events occur, this one could have been helped.

As Norris suggested, there are times when a teacher will get sick and have to leave in the middle of a semester. However, this is not the case in this situation, which has caused much distress to students.

It is a case of a sick teacher recovering and coming back at a disadvantageous time for students’ best interests. Students know the difference between something that could not have been helped and something that could have been helped.

Dean Norris also states that a change such as this is a good reason why professors should use syllabi. Well, not all classes have syllabi and even if they did, a syllabus is no replacement for a teacher. Despite the syllabus, replacing the teacher is replacing the class.

Consider teaching methods, personal preferences as to what points should be emphasized and lecture style. Education should not be based on the syllabus but what the teacher teaches in the class, as most teachers argue to their students at the beginning of every semester when they require attendance. If all that is needed is the syllabus then NIU should become a correspondence school and forget the teachers all together.

It is true that this decision was unfortunate. The editorial board is sure that the recovered teacher is competent to teach the classes. The students should not be biased against her as a teacher but should give her the opportunity to prove herself.

Unfortunately, through no fault of her own, the students will be losing out on this change. Norris should have taken into account students’ concerns before saying that’s the way it is. The whole thing could have been handled differently and that’s what’s so distressing.

If the priority of this university is its students, then students’ concerns should have come first. Instead, they were pushed aside and the whole incidence was labeled as just one of those things.