Monday, March 3, 2014

Ker-Smackity

Decanal Dora:  Thank you, it never occurred to me that I should assess my student learning by asking them to do a short writing at the end of class.  How ever would that have occurred to me without your helpful suggestion, in the middle of a meeting on another topic, directed straight at me, as if I were an idiot?  I particularly like that it came out of the blue and was entirely irrelevant to the rest of the the work of this committee.  I also like that you didn't feel any need to shut your mouth because you're not the dean of my college, haven't taught for at least a decade, and when you did teach, taught a subject entirely unrelated to mine.  The icing on the cake?  My presentation on methods of classroom assessment that I delivered to a pedagogy conference recently.  Next time, don't assume that I'm an idiot just because you are.

Musical Meredith:  I love that you turned over a new leaf and are now awake in class, taking notes, and participating in the discussion.  One thing though: at least when you slept through all my classes you didn't keep singing under your breath.  I don't even think you realize you're doing it (and the weirdest thing?  You have a nice voice.  It'd be pleasant if it wasn't so goddamned weird).  Speaking of . . .

Weird Wally:  I actually do like you.  I, too, was a socially awkward kid without a clear sense of social norms when I started college.  But you seriously have got to stop trying to relate every single class discussion to events in computer games.  The other students keep trying to catch my eye and smirk, and it's getting to the point where I have to stare at the back wall every time you talk. 

Curious Calvin:  What the hell is in your ear?  If it hasn't come out yet, it isn't going to, and I can't imagine there's much more space up there for your finger to explore.  (When it does come out, I don't want to be in the room.)

Apathetic Abernathy:  You haven't read, don't take notes, have no idea what we're discussing in class, and stare sullenly into space.  Every time I ask a question, you say "Uhhh, could you repeat the question?"  Professors hear that as "I wasn't paying the slightest attention."  I will give you an F.  I know you don't believe it, because no one has done it before, but I will.  Watch me.

Professor Chiltepin


5 comments:

  1. A classic passel of, if not idiots, then at least least irritants. As for Dora, there really ought to be a rule against those who don't teach (or even those with lower teaching loads) offering advice to those who do (or who teach more -- especially those who teach 3 or 4 sections of the same class a semester when you teach one every year or two). It's not that the advice isn't good; often it is. It's just that the conditions are so different. For instance: I'd include even more informal writing in my classes (I already include a lot) if I had time to read it (or at least skim it well/often enough to maintain a credible illusion of reading it, which, sadly, seems to be necessary to get students to take it seriously. I actually think that their writing is far more important than my reading, but apparently they need some incentive to take the writing seriously enough to get any good out of it). At the very least, I wish such advice were routinely prefaced by something along the lines of "this may or may not work in your teaching context. . . ."

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    1. (sarcasm on) Dora is indeed well-suited to give advice. By not having taught for so long, she is completely unbiased, not having the influence of actual recent experience. (sarcasm off) While I was teaching, I'm sure that's what most of the administrators who judged my abilities thought.

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  2. Oh, the insufferable advice from people who haven't been in a classroom in 10 years. Grrrr. My classroom experience changed about 8 years ago and has gotten progressively worse. I'm not sure anyone who hasn't taught in the last decade would understand exactly what it's like! Every time our president gets up to talk about how much more faculty need to be doing, I want to challenge her to teach ONE developmental class and then tell me that I'm not doing all I can!

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    1. As part of my performance appraisal, my department head was supposed to attend at least one lecture each term. In my latter years of teaching, he refused, claiming: "That would be policing." Then he tried another tactic--I would be on my "best" behaviour only when he was there. He never accepted my challenge that I wanted him to see what I had to deal with and, if there ever was a time for the wheels to fall off, the occasion he was in my lecture would have been it.

      Then there was the argument that the students would think that I was being a naughty boy if an administrator was present. Most of the students never took any notice.

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  3. I like Weird Wally and Curious Calvin. That is, well smacked.

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