Replace Professor Kainda Katembo with a Better Professor

Replace Professor Kainda Katembo with a Better Professor

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Chemistry 1211 - Gwinnett Technical College started this petition to Academic Affairs at Gwinnett Technical College

When we, the students, started taking Chemistry 1211, we assumed it will be like other typical classes. The professor would go over the material, homework problems, answer questions, go over the assignments that are due, available to answer emails within a reasonable time frame… However, we did not expect Professor Kainda Katembo to be overwhelmingly incompetent.

We the undersigned insist the school replace Professor Kainda Katembo with a professor who is passionate about teaching and chemistry.

Although Professor Katembo has gotten better, he does not know the material well enough to teach the students. Every class, he would attempt to show us an example problem, but he would constantly mess up the math or tell us the wrong info. For example, he told us that when we balance chemical equations, the final answer can include a fraction. Also, there are too many times that a high school freshman would demonstrate and explain chemistry concepts better than Professor Katembo. There were too many incidents where he wrote the wrong numbers down, and students corrected him. Consequently, he would spend 10+ minutes per question then was mad at students for taking too long.

In addition, Professor Katembo cannot answer questions. He would often have students work on a problem on the board. If another student asked a question about the problem (e.g. where the number came from), he is genuinely confused and cannot answer. This is especially the case with assignments, like lab reports. He did not go over the format of the lab report, which lab we were supposed to base it on, if it was supposed to be typed, or if there was a dropbox for the assignment on BlackBoard.

He does not offer too much help during or outside the class. Professor Katembo would say, “I’ll get back to you on that.” One student emailed him outside the class about an assignment. When she did not receive an answer, she asked him about it next class. Professor Katembo replied, “I will get back to your email later.” Few hours later, he replied to the email, “I will get back to your questions later.” Next class, she brought it up again, yet he repeated, “I will get back to your questions later.” He does a similar thing with other questions. A student would ask a question about the homework, and Professor Katembo would answer, “I cannot go over the homework questions because I will be grading them.” Yet he would just look over the homework without checking the answers.

Last but not least, we do not feel safe. In the lab, Professor Katembo does not demonstrate how to use the equipment properly. For example, he did not show the students how to use a Bunsen burner, even when the students asked about it, which could have easily caused an accident. There was a leaking bottle during the lab, and Professor Katembo was notified. He told the students that he would have the next professor deal with the bottle. On another day, there was a broken pair of scissors. Professor Katembo just looked at it and moved on. One time, we ran out of zinc tablets needed for the lab. There was a waste beaker with some copper wires and zinc tablets from the previous lab, so Professor Katembo told us to use those instead of finding us the new zinc tablets. A student asked how he knew those weren’t chemically contaminated and wouldn’t cause another reaction to happen. Professor Katembo insisted those weren’t chemically contaminated and should be completely safe.

While we were able to get an assistant in the lab and a chemistry tutor at the STEM center at Alpharetta-North Fulton Campus, we believe that this is not enough. We were told by Dr. Courtney Ross to “you’ll have to tough it (lecture) out.” Many of us are paying for this class with financial aid, with a loan, or out of pocket. Most of us need this class for their degree or a program of study, and it would look bad on our transcripts to fail or withdraw from this class. 

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