Farbod Honarpisheh

May 2011

Avoid this TA at all costs. If you have a choice between jumping into a pool with man-eating piranhas, or, having Farbod as a TA do not hesitate to jump. He is the worst TA at Columbia University. He will not help you understand class material; he will not answer emails nor will he grade fairly. He does not attend the lectures, rather he relies on the students to “fill him in” on what the professor discussed that week, which makes going to discussion sections completely worthless. He does not bother to take attendance ; his expectations for the class are vague since nothing is written down, and worst of all, his grades are completely arbitrary. However, this is not a reflection on the class, since Prof. Khalidi is a great teachers and really knows his stuff.

Dec 2010

There are hard TAs, there are cranky TAs, and there are dumb TAs, but there is only one Farbod. He shows up late to every class and asks what Saliba said in lecture because he never goes, thinking that no one notices. The class would then regurgitate Saliba's slides to his "hmms" and "ah-has," and the regurgitation was somewhat helpful, but this apparently bored Farbod and we spent the second half of the semester in our seminar listening to students give presentations for extra credit on completely irrelevant topics that would NOT appear anywhere in the coursework or material, from Moorish Architecture to Islamic Theater. Then he later told us that those who did the "extra credit" exercise (a good half of the class didn't) would get 20/20 on class participation and everyone who didn't would get a 17/20, regardless of their participation or interest (in fact, there were no real opportunities for participation after week 4 anyway). There was no value in this optional exercise that took up half of the semester and yet we all got randomly penalized. It was fun to space out for 50 minutes but I would have given my right arm to go over one reading or have him illuminate the stance of one author in this primary text-heavy class. I can't even do all of his insanity justice. Our whole class hated him, and for many legitimate reasons: Farbod did not respond to emails. Farbod did not go over any readings or class concepts. Farbod did not give out a review sheet for the final, even though he said he would. Worst of all, Farbod admitted his habit of giving 3/4 points for almost every short answer response on the midterm was completely arbitrary. He is not going to help you succeed, either in preparation or grading. You will do poorly. He will not care. In this class, your grade is 100% dependent upon your TA. Even Saliba says he doesn't care that X or Y TA is awful; their word is platinum in this class and he will not begin to question it. I was advised to switch out of Farbod by a friend and I didn't because his seminar fit the best into my schedule. Looking back, I would have rather signed up for the most inconvenient seminar ever because it would have been more convenient than going crazy with Farbod as my TA for the entire semester.