Personal Blog

How I Got A University Of Oxford Professor Into Trouble - Shreya Sachdev

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a nice day. For today’s blog post, I thought I would share a story with all of you guys. As some of you might know, last summer in July, I attended the University of Oxford as a summer program for two weeks to study English literature, creative writing, and academic writing. I chose to do this program last summer because it’s a very popular and respected program and because last summer was the time in which I was making decisions regarding where I wanted to apply to college and which schools were my top choices, so I also thought that having a summer program at the University of Oxford would make me look more attractive to colleges and improve my chances of getting into them. I chose to do English literature at this summer program because I had just finished my first year of IB, and I had enjoyed studying English literature the most out of all my subjects. Then, I chose to do creative writing because obviously I want to be a screenwriter when I’m older and I’ve written and published books before. I then had to choose a third option and decided that it would be a good idea for me to do academic writing since in the IB, I was doing Higher Level English, History, and Geography, and this meant that I had to write so much. In fact, when my final exams came around, on the 8th of May, I had History Paper Three and Geography Paper One on the same day which meant that I had to write six essays in one day. Anyways, the point is that I chose to do Academic Writing because I thought that it would be able to help me not just in English, but across all my IB subjects. Unfortunately for me, my academic writing teacher was so awful that I had to complain about him to the head of the program. Let’s get into the story!

At first, I really loved the entire program as a whole. I became friends with a really nice group of girls and soon we met a few other girls and our friendship group expanded even more. Then, the next day I started going to my classes and I remember I had only English literature and creative writing that day. I did not have academic writing. I really liked both my English literature class and creative writing class because both the professors were so sweet and really encouraged class participation as well as were passionate about what they were teaching. I remember my creative writing class would always start off with my professor giving us ten minutes to write anything we wanted, and once the ten minutes were over she would tell us that if we wanted to, we could share our creative writing with the class, but we didn’t have to if we didn’t want to. Then, the rest of the lesson would just consist of her giving us advice and tips on how to think creatively and how to express our ideas the best we can. Likewise, my English literature teacher would also encourage my class to share our ideas and thoughts on the piece we were reading and our classes always consisted of a lot of debate and contrasting opinions, which was similar to the English class I was taking during the IB which is why I really enjoyed it. Therefore, I was very happy with my first day at the University of Oxford because I loved all my classes and also had some really great friends to hang out with.

My second day at the university came around, and this was the day when I was scheduled for my academic writing class. When my class started, my teacher started off with introducing himself and then we went on to introduce ourselves. Then, he introduced some essay prompts to us and told us to analyze them. However, that only took our class ten minutes to do and once we were finished, our teacher didn’t give us any work to do after that. He literally just sat on his phone for the time remaining. The worst part was that he knew we weren’t doing our work and we were just fooling around because I remember how loud our class was that day since everyone was just talking, throwing things, and were on their phones. One of my friends was in that class and her and I were getting so annoyed with our entire class, but our teacher mostly because he was allowing this kind of behavior. However, since it was my first lesson with him, I decided to just see how the next few lessons went before complaining about my teacher. When the second lesson rolled around, I was unfortunately disappointed once again. My teacher started the lesson by telling us to discuss two sides of an argument, but again my class finished with that after ten minutes and the rest of the lesson he let us do whatever we wanted. In fact, he let us out thirty minutes early and literally told us that he didn’t know what to teach us. Finally, the third lesson came and it was the worst. He told us to discuss an essay outline. However, everybody finished in ten minutes and he clearly knew this but did not care and did not tell us what to do after. For the rest of the lesson, he was on his phone and everybody was on their social media, being loud, and messing around. It was this lesson when I realized that this was ridiculous and that something had to be done. He again let us out thirty minutes earlier. I asked him politely "Excuse me, are you going to teach us something or can we leave?" and he replied with "Sure, leave. I have nothing to teach you." He then picked up his briefcase and left.

After I left his class, I went straight to the office and told the head of the program that I needed to speak with her. She was very understanding and sat down with me in her office. There, I explained everything to her and told her that my academic writing professor wasn’t teaching us anything and that I felt like I was wasting my time in that class. She was shocked to hear what I said and told me that she was going to take this extremely seriously. Right away, she started emailing a couple of her colleagues and told them that my class was not learning anything and that there had to be an investigation done. In order to help, I also showed her a photo of my teacher that I had taken in class that same day. The photo showed my teacher sitting on a chair and looking at his phone whilst smiling. It was proof that he was spending the majority of his time on his phone and not teaching us. The head of the program told me that whilst I wasn’t allowed to take photos of teachers in class, it was good that I had since she could send this as proof to her colleagues and it would help the investigation. In the end, I’m so glad that I complained about my academic writing teacher because I ended up having a better teacher the following week. He cared about our class and he spent a lot of time giving us advice and showing us different ways to properly write essays. When he gave us tasks to do, he was involved in helping us and never went on his phone. As a result, I enjoyed the academic writing class a lot more my second week of being at the University of Oxford. I’m not sure what happened to my original academic writing teacher, but I heard that he was in heavy trouble with the head of the university.

Shreya Sachdev