School and the Student Parrot

I am officially finished with my first week of nursing school. I’m happy to report that thus far I’m averaging 93%, which is much better than I did when I was working on my degree several years ago.

I’ve run into an interesting situation in this class.

Since it’s been well over a decade since I last attended, I forgot about that phenomenon known as the student parrot.  Those of you in academia know this creature comes in many forms, but the one I’m talking about is that which decides the best way to get good grades is to be a parrot any time the instructor asks a question.  That is, the instructor asks a question and the parrot is so assertive that none of the other students can get a word in edgewise.

OK, I’m glad they are so smart and know everything in this simply large volume of information but could they please give someone else a chance to answer a question?  After all, the purpose of the lecture is for those students who are still acquiring information into their brain to be able to listen, ask and answer questions, and perhaps learn something.  Unfortunately, when the parrot speaks, one of the instructors focuses on them, and the class becomes an exchange between the instructor and the parrot.

That’s not the worst part about the parrot.  Nope, this parrot has the ability to do that wonder of science fiction called shape shifting.  That is it has the ability to change from one physical form to another.  Friday night the parrot turned into lead sled dog.  At the start of the class the bitch (dog, get it?) all on her own asked the instructor “Can we switch from having an hour for our meal break and make that 30-minutes instead…”  Perhaps not the specific words, but the gist is that she wanted to change the meal time for the rest of the 11-months we have from an hour to a half hour.

The instructor, without giving any of the rest of us who might feel differently a chance, immediately put it to a vote of the rest of the students in the class.  Well, what do you think happened?  Yup, we ended up with a 30-minute meal break.  A full one-third of us thought this was complete BS, but were not given a chance to present our case, mainly that extra half hour is being used for us to study, prepare our materials for class the following day, etc.  The question was asked and answered before we could raise an objection.

For me, the extra study time while at the classroom facility is important, as we are usually given a test at the end of the evening.  That extra 30-minutes to review the materials is crucial for us.  So why does the person who seeming eats the book and completely understands it get to determine that the rest of us are going to shorten the day so she can go home a half hour earlier?

I’m actually pretty peeved at this.  Should I take this up with the program director on Monday?  We have a situation where one student is starting to pull the rest of us around on a leash, and I think that is totally unacceptable.  Not only that, nursing *is not* a democracy.  I think it is more analogous of a military organization.  After all, the doctors write orders and we follow them.  We don’t get to sit around at the nurses station, take in the orders, then take a vote as to if we are going to modify or follow them as written.  That’s essentially what happened here.   One structure was presented, and now it changed by mob mentality.

This said, I’m glad the parrot is absorbing the material so well, but why should I have that extra time taken from me (and the other students who feel this way) because she wants to go home early?  I actually felt sucker-punched by this.

So I’ll ask if any of you have anything thoughts about how I should respond to this?  I can see this is going to keep happening if someone doesn’t say something about it, and soon.


6 Responses to “School and the Student Parrot”

  1. Yes, I think you should speak to the Program Director about this. Not only for the current situation, but to nip any further Parrot-like behavior in the bud.

  2. I would say you need to speak out about this as it’s affecting your quality of education.

    It’d be best if you could get at least one or two other people to join you when you talk to the program director so as to demonstrate that you are not the only person. I’d also make sure that you’ve written down a brief list of your concerns and then stay focused on that list.

  3. While I agree with Cameron and Adam…I feel that it probably won’t do much good. You certainly need back-up from other classmates and a written list. However, I’ve found that they often don’t listen.

    I’ve found that the parrot quickly won’t be that smart. There are always the couple few who think they are hot shit. Rarely they are the ones who end up to be hot shit later at semester’s end. Our class often mumbled loud enough for the parrot to hear that we found their behavior ridiculous. The parrot doesn’t want to turn away everyone…because in the end…you will need to work with everyone. Nobody will work with you or help you out when you need it. The really smart kids just end up being quiet and keeping to themselves…you don’t want to be parrot-y and push everyone away (the smart kids know this).

    Alternatively you can always talk to the instructor straight away or drop an anonymous letter in their office. I’ve found that going above them straight off just pisses them off…regardless of how wrong they are.

    Regardless, the situation will probably have to be addressed. There is no right or wrong way to do it…just don’t be too upset if nothing changes. We had this one teacher who not only told us that the URINARY catheter is inserted into the VAGINA…but she couldn’t even take the test herself and pass. She didn’t write the test (it was standardized for a couple of sections)…but you’d think she’d be able to answer the questions and give you the rationale for the answer. Nope. A couple of my classmates when to complain to the course coordinator and she said “you just don’t know how to take exams and you don’t know how to study”…nothing was done. Nobody came in to help answer our questions. Ultimately after the course reviews came in…she was canned from teaching undergrads and is on probationary teaching now.

  4. PS good luck! Sorry you’ve got to deal with it…it’s no fun.

  5. I’ve decided I’m going to try to let the parrot hang herself, but if it comes up in class again today, I’m going to speak out. Remember two-thirds of the class “voted” in favor of this stupid idea. When I spoke with some of those that were for it I said, “You do realize you just took a half-hour out of your available time to review material for the test at the end of the evening, right?” and they had this look of “oops!” on their face.

    Sometimes a guy just needs to point out to his fellow students that cutting off their nose to spite their face isn’t a very good idea.

    I’m trying to avoid becoming hated by the rest of the class though. I had one actually tell me that, “I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that I’m not going to get through all the material anyhow, so I want that extra half-hour to get home since I drive 40-miles to get here…” Well I drive 30, and I’m willing to do it. With her attitude she should just quit now. 😉

  6. Sigh. Good luck.

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