JUST an assistant professor

Ah, how the times have changed. One of the IIT Bombay students just said to me on Quora, that you are just an assistant professor because you could get nothing else. It is just not that one person, this thinking is quite representative of how many other students in IIT think. Alas, how the times have changed?

It was not very long ago, that I was studying in IIT Delhi. I never heard a single student speak like this about a teacher during my four years of stay there. “He is JUST an assistant professor.” I graduated about 7 years ago and so much change. Such disrespect amongst the students towards their teachers.

Let us say that even if the premise were true, that he could not get anything else other than a professor position at IIT, what can you learn from him, if you have that attitude towards your professor. And, you may think it is trivial to get a position as assistant professor at IIT, believe me it is not that easy. Every year, departments get applications in 100s and only 1 or 2 get selected. But, this is besides the point that I am trying to make. If you want to learn something, there should a basic level of respect towards the teacher and if there is a feeling of contempt, you can learn nothing from the teacher.

My feeling about this change in attitude of students in recent years is because the students no longer come to IITs to study, they come to get their fat pay packages. They are so shallow that they count everything in terms of money. They have no higher purpose in life other than to make money. I don’t know why IITs promote the pay packages in newspapers, all it does is increase the intake of such low quality students in IITs, who have nothing other than money making in their minds.

In all honesty, running after money is not very glorious. Unfortunately, our society is running after money and anyone who does not do that is considered a loser. I am one such loser. I am JUST an assistant professor.

I like to blog about various topics ranging from education in IITs to social issues in India and US. All opinions and views presented here are my own and not of my employer.

19 thoughts on “JUST an assistant professor

  1. And that too considering you have cleared JEE, can you imagine their attitude towards people who failed to clear it.

  2. One thing I really feel sorry is the fact that most of the present so called ‘intelligent’ students are for fat packages. This is true not only with regard to IITs. This is symptomatic of the thinking of many intelligent students of any premier institute.There is no doubt about it. What else can they do? They are forced to study for JEE or some other elite entrance exam because of their parents and the society and as a result they think their sole purpose in life is to make money not study. If you help them make money, they respect you. Very simple logic. They respect employers who pay them fat packages.

  3. It (rude remarm) could be just be an aberration, it’d be harsh to generalize to all students. Also afaik packages are publicized by companies rather than IITs.

  4. The Feeling of negativeness still prevails today ..even when IITs or the Elite People like Brijesh are coming back from US to serve in the field of Education .. Sacrificing so much for contributing towards their country …. I Salute u Brijesh for that ..

  5. The thought ‘He’s just an assistant professor’ comes when a student forms an opinion on a teacher. A part of me feels that there’s equal contribution of both a teacher & a student to form an opinion on anyone.

    All I’m saying is your equally responsible for that. I know you feel bad about this change in society. But the purpose of teacher is to understand his students and make em feel good.

    In general that particular student must have had some harsh experience or something that you may not know off, otherwise its not something you see everyday.

    P.s I respect my Professors, Asst Prof Including the Lab Assts.

    • It’s not always that simple. I am a student at a certain IIT currently and I have seen the attitude of several students to be pretty bad. They have a certain assigned value to everything and they judge everything and everybody according to that. And about pissing of students?? All they want is marks w/o performing. So, you can understand that how easily they get offended! Obviously it’s not all of them. But maximum is like that.

  6. You are absolutely right guy. Today’s generation changed and headed towards hell. All are money minded n oriented people. They dont have any kind of humanity. As per as teacher is concern, attitude problems are there in new generation students.

  7. Yes this type of altitude is not there now only but It is there long time. But if you approach as statics of the statement I feel it is true. Most of the faculty, government officials etc all come under this criteria were they don’t fit any where else got selected here. But as for the respecting the faculty it is different thing. This statement that a AP did not get any where else then he has become AP should not be taken as disrespect to teaching community. Still today students are very much respecting the faculties. The statement made about faculties should be taken as student has made it as a common man(not as student). Because he should be also permitted to give his opinion. No doubt that there are some faculties in IIT who are extremely good and incomparable in term commercial money market. This also true for some village schools where a teacher gives almost his life to uplift students. But only where it hurts the public when a faculty start comparing his salary to some one else in the other spectrum or country. The faculties surely will feel their salary is low but when they make statement like this in public forums the comment from students start flowing like this. And most of the faculties selected in the competition of 1:100, and they compete despite knowing the salary is low. Then they should be prepared ready to receive this salary. Further comparing with professor of other countries is meaningless because entire economics,population system of governance is completely different there.

  8. Don’t feel bad. It’s a frog in a well perspective on part of that arrogant student. To see the mirror, the likes of him just need to cross the road outside IITB. No one gives a damn. I am rather sorry for him, because he will learn this very important lesson the hard way!

  9. I feel sorry that u have to go through all this and that too from a breed of people who value “getting things easy”. We all know what it takes to be a faculty in an IIT. I fell pity for people who have forgotten what n whom to respect ……

  10. Respect should be earned. Not GIVEN for the sake of his/her position. It is true that most students have such mindset, but a “teacher” in “real”sense always gets the respect he/she deserves..be it IIT or a private college or anywhere else!! Afterall, you sow what you reap. 🙂

  11. Hi Brijesh, a brief introduction about myself….I am 2002 M.Tech (Applied Geophysics) pass out from IIT , Roorkee (Department of Earth Sciences).
    This comment recalls me about one of my professor from IIT Roorkee itself. We were on a field trip in Himachal Pradesh and some issues were there related to the quality of food…. Professor said….after 1-2 years you people will earn so much money in oil industry & today u are thinking about spending money on food…..After reading your post, this incident just clicked in my mind & I am really shocked…but it is a fact, entrance of IIT is a gateway to attractive pay packages….In my field (Geology and Geophysics), very few people like to go for research because if they get job in oil industry, they might get their first salary higher than their IIT professor current salary.
    In our Indian society, higher you earn higher respect you get. So, basically it is not the problem of that student…..It is like “what you sow is what you reap”.
    We have to work to change our whole system. There should be respect for everybody irrespective of their work or wealth.
    I am sorry, if my words hurt somebody.

  12. Students are like your kids in teen age. You need to understand their mindset, get the right thing slowly diffused, and don’t get offended. A teacher’s job is not just teaching. A teacher gives shape and the right direction. Let’s not blame society and student for what your have observed. Have you seen TV serial Chanakya (or Chandragupta), you will get an idea what I am talking about. This kind of mindset was always their in one or the other for. We should not expect respect for our position, rather we should see what we are giving to these students. Remember that there is not much difference between a offender and the one who gets offended. They both are intolerant of one or the other thing.

    – An IISc Faculty

  13. Great One.
    I can feel the amount of hard work you did to reach IITR 🙂
    I know people now a days are so money minded that they do not wanna learn in depth.

  14. I’m sorry for your negative experience. Professors at IIT’s are world class faculties & do great research. However some, and I can vouch for this having studied at IIT KGP are byproducts of reservations, favoritism, politics & some 0 zeal to do research / take classes. There is one fundamental thing which unites all of them (atleast in my department) – their dislike for students who come through JEE.

    I would have entered research had I found *some* encouragement from my professors , which made even passing out difficult for me. I saw a lot of psychological complexes in them which bred repugnance in me for research @ IIT .

    Repercussion – Only 2-3 of my batch of 40 joined core companies (not the best 2-3), Only 3 went for research , 1 with amazing recos, 1 @KGP itself. and 1 at a US university. Academics @KGP was the worst part of my life. I get a fat pay package today . Things I studied in undergrad contribute 0% to it. I feel I’ve wasted my life by not doing any research. Would have been much better off had I joined a state university in sciences. Not all people join IITs for a fat package.

    IIT as a product is a failure today. Lot less students are going for their masters / PhDs in US etc, research funding is constrained in India, to research for 5 years in India on a meager Salary is a BIG decision for students, several of whom are not from economically sound families and have to pay off loans. Jobs in analytics, coding are easy to come, Core jobs are scarce , and made scarcer still when the Profs / Insti doesn’t maintain a working relationship with the alumnis / companies. IITians are doomed.

    The first thing a CS prof told me when I entered KGP was 90% of you guys will be doing a coding job regardless of your degree. He was directionally right.

  15. why blame the poor student for disrespect when your own colleagues can treat you with respect? I am sure you must have sensed it from your HOD or the Associate Professors or the Professors. They also will consider you as just “That AP fellow”. They even do this in front of Lab assistants and students. Autonomy for IITs has given a lot of senior faculty members a sense of being arrogant, disrepectful and being above the law. There is no accountability. Some people are talking about great research being done here. It is nothing like that. We dont have any CV Raman or the Bose types here. I this was the case why would these places come with 200+ and 300+ ranks in the global ranking of universities.

  16. ha ha ha, being an Assitant Professor is getting a TAG OF JUST Now. Really funny. During my masters at Edinburgh, I observed that this was the position which various post doctorals were fighting for, because, that would have given them access with the researchers of the international level, those who are god of the field, and changing the world.

    Honestly, Indians are yet to understand the concept of education. The problem is because of the middle class mindset, where, they have lost their analytical ability, and think that by becoming millionarie, they would be able to establish their rule.

    Indian middle classes reminds me those small chieftian kingdoms of hindus, who used to fight war against each other, trying to outdo each other, while the real superior races ruled on them.

    Except for nehru, no one was serious about the idea of india, actually.

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