The long and short of it is: this class is a lot of work to no end. Work must be justified, it must lead to progress. A small class that always starts late and always ends late: the professor acts as if hers were the only class in the world. She assigns work according to this standard. There is no concrete syllabus: she makes it up as she goes and revises it even as it's printing, I swear. Flexibility is good, but anarchy is not.
The verb book she uses (Muravyova) is old and good, but in this class...you will do the same five exercises over and over because the professor has forgotten whether you did them (aloud) already...and she will pass it off as review that she intended in the first place.
You read one text the entire semester - Nedelia kak nedelia (A week like any other). The idea is to learn all the vocab really well...the reality is you are bored out of your mind discussing, three times a week, the reasons why the heroine does not have any time...and how do we know that her husband loves her? The text has no literary value but it suits Prof. Kashper's political agenda. (Topics for the final presentation were such: Children and careers, family relations, abortion: for or against; feminism: for or against. Granted, this class is taught at Barnard...but the biased feminism...an abuse of feminism, I daresay...has no place in the University, especially in a language class.
I learned about human nature in this class - esp. from the way the other students were cowed by the professor and confessed that they would do anything for her...that she was an ice queen whom time would melt. She never treated me as anything other than an unserious school girl. She could not remember - although there were all of five girls in the class - whether I went to Columbia or Barnard; in fact she fondly generalized about "we Barnard women" - God forbid a boy should sign up for this class; he'd lose his mind, except she would probably ironically choose him as her favorite. And she mispronounced my name all the time.