GRE PREP COURSE – DAY 1:
We arrived at the classroom for the first day of the GRE prep course. The person running the class was very distracted. He kept running in and out of the room. I wondered if he even knew what was going on.
When it came time to distribute the material (class participants get two books, a packet of handouts, etc.), the facilitator (he doesn’t merit the term “teacher”) discovered that they were missing 25 copies of one of the books.
In a class of 50 people, you would think that whoever was in charge would notice that they were missing half the required number of one of the books! There must have been a lack of communication somewhere in the process.
GRE PREP COURSE – DAY 2:
This was to be the first day of class instruction. Class was to start at 5:00 PM and run until 9:00 PM. The first two hours were to be taught by the math instructor, and the second two hours were to be taught by the English instructor.
By 5:20, there was still no teacher. One of the students in the class went to the department office and asked if the teacher would be coming. The department had no idea that we didn’t have a teacher.
The department called the teacher who was supposed to be teaching at 5:00. He was totally unaware that he was supposed to be teaching the course that night. The person in the department said, “We send you an email telling you that the course starts tonight.” The teacher said, “Oh. I changed my email account, and don’t check that one anymore.”
The department then called the teacher who was to teach at 7:00 and asked if he would come ASAP. He said he would be there in ten minutes.
When the second teacher arrived at 5:30, the class finally began. As he was talking to us, the teacher told us about the last time they started the GRE course: he never received an email from the department saying the course was to begin. He only found out that it was beginning because he was surfing the University website and saw that the course was beginning in two days. So he called the department and asked if he was supposed to be teaching the first day. They said, “Yes.”
He blamed the problem on the student employees, saying that the problems were due to “high turnover” in the office.
Let’s examine some of the problems in communication that occurred:
- The department should never have sent an email, and assumed that the email had been both received and understood. That just doesn’t make sense. If no response was received, it was the department’s responsibility to follow-up with the teacher to ensure he had received and understood the message.
- If the teacher has changed his email account, he has the responsibility to communicate that information with the department that is paying him for his work. If the teacher has not provided an alternate means of communication, he is responsible to make sure relevant parties know when he changes his email address.
- If communicating about the start of a new class is a perpetual problem (as it apparently is), there should be processes in place to make sure the problems are corrected. If the problem really is turnover of employees, adequate documentation should be enough to solve the problem. Don’t just blame it on part-time student employees. Find a way to fix the problem!
When you make students pay $275 dollars for a prep course, you ought to make it seem like it is worth their money. Incomplete and incompetent communication just doesn’t cut it.