Readers (regular ones) of my blog may know that I’m a student of Career Launcher’s Arun Roy Classes (ARC), their IITJEE prep division. Months down the line, I’m seriously thinking whether it was a mistake to join this place, giving up offers from the likes of FIITJEE et al. Here’s why:
- One thing which I must condemn is their SIS – Student Information System. They touted it as the a ‘powerful web-based system’ through which all students would be able to track their performance and get their results. That hasn’t happened at all. Except for a terrible little cosmetic change for the worse, nothing’s come on it. I’ve never received an SMS or WAP test score update. Hell, I’ve not seen many results even online. Till now only three were available out of the twelve or so that we’ve given, and that too they’re now all deleted. I spoken and emailed to them about it so many times, but even after so many months I see no change. Sent flames to customer care too, but they don’t budge.
- Apart from SIS, their site is non-functional. There’s a high percentage of broken links on the site, and their online doubt removal facility never responds. I also don’t get why SIS should show feedback from MBA programme students in feedback area, and polls related to their MBA prep division.
- Our batches have no standard level. I can say that only maybe 5-6 people (mostly Dipsites :D ) in our batch of 25 are of any proper level. Point is, in other institutes, a batch consists of students who are ranked pretty close to each other in skills, so while teaching, a proper pace can be set. At ARC, with no common level I feel the teachers have a difficult time taking the class along together, not leaving tortoises behind while at the same time not boring the rabbits. And they naturally fail miserably at it because it simply CANNOT be done. Period.
- Our earlier chemistry teacher was experienced, but was the soul brother of Hypnos, Greek God of Sleep. Sleeping students = disaster. We’ve got a new teacher, temporarily, I hear; he’s good but more interested in ‘Practical Applications of Organic Chemistry in Everyday Life’ aka alcohols (only ethanol – others are not fit for human consumption) no matter which topic is going on. Amusing and enlightening, but seriously, if I really wanted THAT I wouldn’t be sitting in a class but a bar for something more hands-on. Otherwise, better than the last one.
- Math teacher. What do I say. He’s good. But straying off (or maybe, I am…). Hardly any doubts are cleared, we always keep shooting ahead. Math is the one in which we are always three-four sessions ahead of schedule. He keeps on giving HIS own questions, but the questions from the book or difficulties in them hardly ever get cleared. Consequence – math scores across all tests have been really poor, but most students are not ready to face it since otherwise he’s a nice guy (i.e., really doesn’t screw students when they turn up without doing work, other students’ definition), to which I agree (but not in their sense). I think his case can be ironed out by speaking to him about it, and I know he can be a good teacher. He is. Point is, I don’t think hardly anyone would support me in class on this issue. Look at last point on this. As an aside, he too seems to be catching on with a monotonous voice a la our old chemistry guru ;) , or maybe, I’m losing interest.
- Physics teacher. My favorite. Not because of the fact that it’s my fave subject, which it is, but his ideology of teaching is one of the best I’ve ever come across. Frankly I hate teachers and adults in general (most parents in particular) because they all hamper creativity, but he’s one guy who actively encourages THINKING. He may lag behind schedule, but he always does his best to clear up any doubts students may have and is always ready to help. He actually takes us through problem solving procedures rather than just ‘showing it’. So although we may end up using one hour to solve a question, it really helps because we learn the HOW , WHY, WHAT of a problem. He’s the one who always discusses book problems, gives extra ones (which require thinking and a clear concept comes handy in solving them, which I really like). The amount of energy that he infuses into a class is amazing, and does take his teaching seriously. Always the one to give practice exercises regularly and discuss them, unlike the other teachers. Full marks to him. Dunno why many don’t like him, but that’s maybe because he does what he has to, which makes him a ‘strict’ teacher in front of others. I definitely don’t agree, and I don’t think he needs to change. Not doing this for flattery, I really mean these things.
- One word about out packages. Not updated. Too many ‘prove’ type questions which are seriously out of favor in the JEE pattern, from at least what I’ve heard. And our physics books have an irritating habit of putting at least 10 terms in a single sentence with quotation marks for emphasis. Really irks me. Physics packages are the best (collated from really diverse places), would rank chemistry after that. Math seems to be a total mystery anyway since hardly anything is discussed from there. Others who actually sit down to solve them will agree with me I think.
- No answer keys to class exercises. How on earth am I supposed to know whether I’m correct or not?
- ARC had touted a lot about ‘use of presentations in classrooms’. Beyond the foundation period, use of that hasn’t taken place. I LOVE technology, even in classrooms. In fact, I’d have joined an online IITJEE coaching programme if CL had one. What I feel is that the presentations are a really good way of teaching, since it frees the teacher from the tedium of dictating notes (and I hate droning voices) and let’s him concentrate on the primary job – teaching. It also sets a pace for the class – many times we end up overshooting out time limit and lag behind. With presentations, the class automatically gets a pace which I believe will allow us to finish on time. Bring them back, please.
- Boring Parent-Teacher Meetings. Their PTMs are a nice place to be in to waste time. Nothing happens, except that parents (whichever ones turn up) and teachers keep admiring each others’ faces for a long time. I guess it’s a parent problem – they want nothing more in a PTM except signing a sheet of paper with some remarks (which they may or may not read, generally the latter) and walking out. That’s the attitude most parents have, and then people keep saying thing like ‘next gen is going to the dogs’ (in a VERY self-righteous tone). Yeah right. Thanks to your nonchalance, parents. Note – not talking about my parents in every circumstance of this post.
- Batchmates. The group of 25 is not really very serious, except maybe 7-8, and that too generally only 3-4 turn up in class after attempting exercises. At this rate, we CANNOT have progress. How would they know that currently we’re slipping really fast, since they don’t attempt anyway. Injection of some seriousness is really required, because by next year, it’ll be too late.
I’d joined ARC because I’d found its faculty more approachable than others, which made me deal with marketing people more (only FIITJEE allowed me to interact with HODs, but CL seemed more dynamic; still keep getting calls from them). And for smaller batch size. At least, I can’t complain about faculty a lot, they are good. Any talk about batch size or standard is trash though. Never factor that as an advantage if you want to join this place.
The mystery which I haven’t been able to solve though is this – why does ARC seem to have so many good PHYSICS teachers on its rolls (I mean, comparatively). Till now I’ve interacted with quite a few of them, and all of them are enthusiastic and (um, let’s drop this gen’s standard word in now) awesome! Never found physics classes boring at ARC, which may not always be the case in school (although are regular physics tea
cher does use lots of humor, er, sarcasm to keep the class lively, which is what I like). Some genetic predisposition of physics teachers to be fun people, is it? Or maybe, they all consider Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman as their Bible and him as their idol. Open question to physics teachers reading my blog – is the book part of your training syllabus? ;)