Monday, June 30, 2014

Wicked Walter: You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him.

From Rate Your Students, November 3, 2007


The Return of Wicked Walter.

It's been quite some time, but Wicked Walter from Waxahachie returns today. After his first post back in August, most readers thought he was a put-on. But, as we sometimes do, we tracked him down. He does exist, and is a professor at a large state school in Texas. (We don't think he's really from Waxahachie, however, because we're pretty sure a nutjob like him would get run out of a nice town like that.) Anyway, Walter is back. You may want to avert your eyes.

***

What in God's name are you smoking out there on the compound? This site has gone to hell in a hatbox, and I've decided to mobilize myself to save y'all's bacon!

Just this past week I see you let your crazzy-ass, cat-lover nutjobs duke it out with the Depends-wearing old codgers who couldn't chew a decent piece of meat with borrowed teeth. That's a non-starter. Don't let the crazzies have an open forum.

I'm the answer to your problems. I'm neither junior or senior. I'm right in the middle of it all, and I say, quit bickering among yourselves and let's save the venom for the real evil-doers: students, administration, Wanda in the cafeteria, and Roger the I.T. guy with his little screwdrivers and tight trousers.

Seriously, here's what to do to get back on track. You can thank me later. I got a million good ideas, and I'm happy if you just want to name one of your children after me:
  • Start showing some video. I mean it, man, I want to see some of that TMZ shit on here, Lindsay Lohan eating a prune, Nicole Kidman all glassy-eyed rubbing her head on that honky-tonky husband of hers, Slappy White doing his show from the Sands in 1965.

  • Get with the times, man, and hire yourself some needlenose from your computer science department to get the format of the page together. Some days you got the margarita glasses going, now you just this shit-brown thing with the sideways building. Too arty! Big and bold. American flags and fields of hay and strippers with guns and, well, you get my drift. Boldness is what goes over big here in Texas, and I'm sure it'll sweep the rest of those damn dull rectangle states y'all probably live in.

  • Put the focus on the students, not just how they're bad at education, but how smelly they are, how badly they dress, and why can't they run a comb through their hair. Let's go personal. Hey, on that other site, some rotter called my class "a good place to catch a nap." Yeah, well, we'll see how my new airhorn goes over the first time I see some candy-coated co-ed start to nod off. Man, I'll make 'em jump and start running until they hit the Red River. Then they're on their own.

  • I see you got "Big Question Thursday," you're trying out. I give you snaps for a new idea. But also add, "Big Butt Wednesday." Use one of those new cameraphones to capture a big butt on campus, student, groundskeeper, but most likely some suit from the Administration building. Go ahead and blow those pics up to monster size and post them. You won't believe how your hits will go up. People is always searching Google for "butts," "asses," and so on.

  • I got one more before I have to back to the lab and put some whup'ass on those nutty grad students. How about you take RYS on the road. Get yourselves a Handycam something or other, and start knocking on faculty doors. Go to the source. Walk in on Dr. So-and-So and say, "What about them students? Ain't they the worst? How come you're crying? Don't you like my belly?" You get my drift. Quit waiting for the world to come to you, get out there and drum up some content. I see those people on the TV do it all the time. Shove a camera and a microphone in front of Dewey Dumbshit from Sociology or whatever and find out what he really thinks. "RATE 'Em, Baby!"
See. It ain't hard. I spent 9 minutes on this and I came up with 20 ideas better than you ever had in your lives. And I'm not even breathing hard.

Listen, get back to me on this shit right away. Last time I wrote you didn't say a damn thing.

XOXO

Wicked Walter

I don't care how good Frozen and Breaking Bad are, there will only be one Walt.

This wee week we showcase Wicked Walter from Waxahachie.  The ideas for improving RYS are as useful as the first day they were posted.  You've been warned.

Ben


From Rate Your Students, August 8, 2007.

Where We Don't Even Pretend To Try and Figure Out What To Write For a Title

A professed fan of the site sends along this list of "ideas":

Y'all gone soft there at RYS. There was a time when you put the cart in front of the horse, or just ate the horse for lunch and pushed the cart down the mountain. Now y'all just nice and polite and it's making me a little sick. (Look, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.)

Well, I've come to save the day. I want to be one of those "chief correspondents" you are always yammering about. I want to be recognized for my wisdom and perspciapacity or whatever. I want you to marvel at my ideas, give me a shocking title and a cool blurry graphic. I want to be in with the COOL KIDZ.

So, here are my suggestions for the coming year. I am in my new office at my old school and I've got a new laptop that the Dean had to buy me because I'm such a research stud, and I'm about to let loose with some ideas that will make your little website as popular as http://www.IFartedForMyPhd.com/ or http://www.UnmarriedBitterSingleProfessorWithACat.org/. Feel free to use these, but make sure you give credit to me - a chief correspondent in the sciences from a slamming R1 in Texas.

  • Every Friday, post a picture of the cutest ass in someone's class. Profs can turn the tables and whip out their own cell phones and capture a hunnie or a hunk. You could post them with funny captions. I can think of a hundred ideas already.

  • Every Saturday and Sunday, turn the blog over to a random professor. Just tell someone to write a "smackdown" of their own and then watch the vitriol fly!

  • Start identifying students with more comical descriptions and made up names. Saying "Bitchy Brenda" is not enough. Say that Brenda is a petite 5'3" brunette made up of sugar and spice, oregano and combat boots, and that she often has tunafish in her hair...and you get my drift. Spice it up, I guess. This is not TELEVISION, MAN, it's the written word, and let Chaucer and Le Carre and Cussler be our models...describe, describe, describe!

  • Put an immediate kibosh on any post that starts with one of these: 1) I love my students..., 2) My students work hard..., 3) I care about my students... and you get the drift. Those posts always suck. They're always introspective and that's pure death on any of these blogs. Just quit posting shit like that and you'll stop getting such lousy submissions.

  • Just quit trying to be so serious. All of the people in my department are dunderheads, old farts who are on the long slow decline to dementia and retirement (at the same time, do you get me?!?!). If I wanted to be bored to death I'd go talk to them. I come to RYS for some fun. It's not rocket science, baby. This is a blog that's supposed to rip a new one to those students who turn our classes into daymares. So let's have some fun with it.
Okay, so just let me know how amazed you are by all of that. And I didn't even break a sweat. You can thank me at some convention some time. I'm always asking colleagues, "Yo, are you the Rate Your Students guy, huh? Would you tell me?" I'll find you, you bastard, I really will.

Signed me,

Wicked Walter from Waxahachie
(that's nothing...I got a million of them)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday comics

We think student evaluations are worthless, right?

I used to think that.  Now, I see some usefulness in them.

For instance, if you make a YouTube video of faculty reading their evaluations, it can be pretty funny.



And some more.



And more.



I keep finding these.




Other than that, they make good kindling.

Have a good Sunday!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday Morning News

I don't know where to begin with this story.  A professor says, "the instructor makes all major decisions about what to learn, the requirements/assignments, class policies, grading policies and so on" then claims there's something wrong with that approach.

Professor John Schindler gets suspended for a dick pic (that link goes to the story, not the picture).  Apparently, he's a former NSA security guy so, yeah, it's even funnier.  To sort out the sordid details, you have to rely on the journalistic titans at Buzzfeed to explain what's going on.  Summary: NSA guy was having an affair, sent a pic to his girlfriend, who shared it online in order to make him look bad.  No wonder these guys are upset that Snowden got all those files.

Speaking of professors behaving poorly, there's this advice letter from slate: A student told me she has sex with two senior faculty members for money. What should I do?

By chance, we found another Slate article related to education.  Don't call your students "kids."  I wholeheartedly agree.  talented adults or responsible or even competent adults, but they are not children.
They are adults.  They might not be


Friday, June 27, 2014

I search through all of RYS and CM to find Goddamn Katie posts and then I find this one...

From College Misery, July 19, 2011

A Katie Cornucopia.

I'm sure this isn't all-inclusive, but I've linked to some great "Katie" moments. If you haven't read Cal's account in the comments below Katie's post this morning, it might give you an overview.

But, suffice it to say, SOMEONE has been posting as "Katie" for a few years now, and the material has always been pretty rich. And what's useful to remember, is that nearly all of the RYS/CM Katie posts have near identical posts on her own blog - even up to and including (God save me what wrath this might bring me) shit about her cats.



I don't feel like exerting any more energy on her today, but it's an odd story. Given my knowledge of how email accounts and IP servers work, I'm pretty confident that much of the "Katie" material has come from someone in a certain building on a certain campus where the real Dr. Crazy works. As Cal has more or less said, someone who knows her has invested a ton of time in turning Dr. Crazy posts into Katie posts (they are identical oftentimes in events, and sometimes even in language), or, Katie is Dr. Crazy.

Yet, the most recent email I have for her (and this is not the first time it's happened), asks me to ignore what I think of as fairly conclusive evidence.

In an effort to put a stop to this, I'm not going to leave up any material that comes in purportedly from "Katie." I extend my apology to Dr. Crazy if indeed someone from her own academic building has been so successfully reposting her material through our blog (and by extension, I guess, the earlier RYS blog, though of course I never worked for it.)

"Katie," cut it out.

Dr. Crazy, this blog never intended you any harm. The material that came to us from "Katie" came from your college, and mirrored in many ways your own posts. Rightly or wrongly, it was assumed you'd created a second pseudonymous identity in order to get feedback from a large academic audience who didn't have daily contact with your original online persona. We won't post any more "Katie" material.

Fab



[+]


There's one final chapter is this saga.  Katie somebody - at this point I don't fucking know who - fires the final shot.

I hope you enjoyed Katie week.  I've got a cast of characters lined up but if there's a topic or person you'd like me to feature, put it in the comments.

Ben

 

And it's all downhill from here for Katie

ANOTHER note from Fab about Katie.  As Yaro is my witness, that guy put up with a lot of shit.

Ben



From College Misery, July 19, 2011


Katie from Kalamazoo. The Legend. The Myth.

NOTE FROM FAB:

27 minutes after I posted the recent note from "Katie from Kalamazoo," an academic blogger wrote to me (from the nearly identical IP address at a public uni in the Midwest) that she did not want to be associated with our site, and that she had not sent the post. She asked me to take it down, which I have done. (This post does appear on this blogger's own site as well, but she is pseudonymous there, with no connection to her real world academic life.)

There are a number of factors that complicate this, including the fact that I've been contacted by this person before about other such posts, and that someone who identified herself as this academic blogger AND as Katie, has contacted me from the same IP address at the same university.

Perhaps I'm just a dupe, but until I can prove otherwise, I think it's fair to take down the post.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Many RYS/CM readers know who Katie actually is, and are readers of her blog. But no one is more confused than me concerning this.

At one end of the spectrum I'm being played by Katie - who actually IS this other academic blogger. At the other end - maybe more likely now - someone at her own school knows who she is and is tweaking her.

Regardless, over the years, "Katie" has been a favorite among RYS/CM readers, and - I'm guessing - will continue in that role.


A CM post from Katie. A rare gem indeed.

Oops, I fibbed yesterday.  There is one Katie post at CM.  Of course she'd want to leave this one up for the world to see.  Her conference paper was great, as if you didn't already know.

Ben



From College Misery, June 8, 2011


On the Wire Today From Kalamazoo....

You all know that I support the idea of venting from time to time. But recently I've just become so annoyed at CM and its bitter cacophony of bitter voices.

I don't know why summer is so hard for you. I've got two articles in progress and have just returned from a rather important conference. My colleagues there were charged, engaged, and not a one vented or bitched about their students. They were pushing forward with scholarship and teaching ideas. (I even found a new possible collaborator for future papers, and yes, my paper went great.)

Since returning from that I've tidied up several parts of my second book proposal, and celebrated the doctoral defense of one of my long time friends. It's great to be in academe. It's great to have the jobs we have and the mission to teach and lead, write and read.

If you wallow in "misery," you will be miserable. Is that a point you miss?

XOXO,
Katie

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Katie: The beginning of the end

We have here a note from his near-holiness, Fabio Sunshine, founding father of College Misery and all-around good guy.  There are no posts by Katie on College Misery now but I recommend that you check out the comments to this post by clicking here or the original post title below and scroll down.

Ben


From College Misery, September 13, 2010.


A Note From Fab on Katie.

The last thing I ever wanted to do was run an academic blog...haha! I've said from the beginning that though I was happy to be one of several old RYS readers who got the new site up, everything I've done has been an attempt to not have to do anything else!!! But this little Katie scuffle just seemed to put people ill at ease and I wanted to clear up anything I could so we could get on with - the Misery.

I got an email from Katie tonight, from the same college address that corresponds to her earlier posts here and (according to Cal) all of her posts to RYS.

She was contrite and a little angry, but the gist was that even though she felt ganged up on, that she also felt a little foolish. She admitted that she liked having fun on this site and the one that came before, and somehow the whole thing just spiraled a bit, and when her real identity and her blog identity became the topic of discussion of an otherwise sort of neutral question about Kindle, she wanted to just get out of the way of all of it.

She has taken down her previous posts, and of course the 2 posts from today which caused the ruckus. That's her prerogative, I guess, as the Blogger software allows such a thing.

The truth is she's posted at RYS and at CM under the moniker Katie from Kalamazoo. She's at times been combative, although some people found her awfully smart and funny as well, and she hasn't always reacted well when her shit disturbing - well, when it disturbed people's shit.

She tells me she won't be coming around anymore, and I will take her at her word. I replied to her that I thought she brought a lot of it on herself, and in the hour since I haven't heard back from her. She is no longer listed among the page's correspondents, and she's the only one (save for me) who could remove herself from that list.

I'm sorry if the page's focus got fucked up during this. Personally I like it when the page is about how our role as academics make us miserable. When it strays into other areas I just think it's less interesting. But that's just me.

Cheers,
Fab

Katie gets drunk with a student and takes her home. "I felt like such a complete success."

Here's what I love about Katie.  She can write a few posts that make you think, she has a good point about women in academia.  She's a little odd but maybe not as crazy I as thought.  Then we get this.  The seat cushion in front of you contains a BFF-sickness bag in case you need it.

Ben


From Rate Your Students, January 10, 2010 


Katie From Kalamazoo Has Got a Real Life Friend. (It's Her BFF.) She Wanted Us Grumpy Farts To Know, And We Wanted You To Know, Too.


I haven't been by to check out you old grumpy farts for a while, so I logged in over the weekend and just read the terrible bullshit you've been complaining about. I don't know exactly how many people write for you, but you're all such downers.

While I admit that students can sometimes be a trial, none of you seem capable of really enjoying the jobs you have, or celebrating the really great students who come into all of our lives.

Last weekend I spent some time with one of my former students, one who I've written about before (and whose relationship you shit on), and one whose progress and success I take a lot of pride in and some credit for.

Anyway, she and I had dinner together at a local eatery, and all of her close friends were there. It was such a kick meeting them because I felt like I knew them already. We sat around and talked for hours, and got a little tipsy in the process.

Once, when she and I were alone, we both confided that we were so happy that after class was over how deep our friendship had grown. I swear we both cried and hugged and she told her other friends that I was her newest and best BFF. It was so crazy. I felt like such a complete success, because I taught the hell out of her when she was my student, and now we're best of friends.

This is what you people are missing out on. You close yourselves off to these wonderful people who study in our classes, and you're simply aloof prigs for not leaving yourself open to these fantastic relationships.

Anyway, we were all blind drunk at the end of the night and when I woke up the next morning I had the warmest feeling. I had a new BFF, and all of her great friends are my friends, too. What did you accomplish this weekend? Did you bitch about how stupid students are? Well, maybe you're missing the whole point.

Late,
Katie

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

katie finds some non-BFFs

I've commented before that Katie's posts hold up pretty well after five years.  However, rereading this and the previous post about Katie's fight against the academic boys' club, I wonder if our view of her situation has changed.  She's still krazy but I think people are more attuned to these issues now than they were during the first decade of the 21st century.

Ben


From Rate Your Students, October 19, 2009

Kalamazoo Katie Goes Krazy. (Oh God It's Easy Sometimes.)


So, all your little pissy pissy pissants will be happy to know that once again I've been MANhandled - and the emphasis is real, motherfuckers!

My request for a sabbatical has been turned down, or as they say in the backwards town of Kalamazoo, delayed, until they think it's okay I take it.

All of this despite the fact that I turned in my request - letter perfect and bound, mind you - four weeks in advance of the deadline. I opted for the entire year at half pay, starting next Fall. That provides lots of time for the deadwood sumbitches to do whatever scheduling magic is necessary to find folks to cover my classes.

(GOD KNOWS THEY DIDN'T MIND ADDING AN OVERLOAD TO MY SCHEDULE TWO YEARS AGO WHEN DULL IN THE DUODENUM DICKWAD DIMPLETON TOOK HIS SABBATICAL. Oh, and, tell me Dick, where are the results of that sabbatical? Was that slide show in the student union supposed to knock me over, because it didn't!)

But I got my little "acceptance letter" telling me I could have Fall 2010 off by itself, or if I wanted the full year at half pay, it would have to be Fall 2011 and Spring 2012.

Know why?

Because there are already people in my department who have sabbaticals approved and scheduled for next year. That's right. Two of my precious colleagues, Mouthbreather Michael and Eyes-on-Tits Ivan, are taking their sabbaticals and they got preference.

I'm the only one in the department who's published a book in the past TEN YEARS, and Ivan and Michael contribute nothing to the department beyond teaching their classes - and I can just imagine what wizards they are there.

Why did this happen? Because they have balls, like the department chairMAN, the DEANman, etc. etc. ad infinitum, and so on, and all of you know the rest. (And, not without noting that their sabbatical plans - FROM THEIR OWN MOUTHS TO MY EAR - include "getting away from things," and "taking some time to really figure out what's next." That's approved ahead of mine, which includes the research and writing of a book, my SECOND book?)

I know that your site likes to make fun of anyone earnest and sincere about the profession, and I'm sure you'll paint me as Krazy Katie - because you've done it before! - but I know that at least half of our readers will appreciate my story. (And after all, don't you always say you value the "lively" post. Well, none get much livelier than this, compound bitches!)

When women in academia get bounced or booted or told to "wait, dear," then it's just the norm, just the way it's always been. I would have LOVED to have been in the room if Ivan had been told to DELAY his sabbatical. What gnashing of teeth (and scratching of balls) there would have been then.

But of course that wouldn't happen. Instead, Katie gets the blow off. "Next year, honey," that's what the fucking note should have said.

Fuck them all.


"I'm a bit of a rock star committee member" says it all about Katie.

From Rate Your Students, September 12, 2009


Kalamazoo Katie Returns. "Is Your College Run By a Boy's Club?"


I don't know how you decide on your topics, but one thing I think you would benefit from is more focus on gender politics within the academy. Let me offer a recent experience to get things started.

I was recently asked to take part on a major campus committee, and as I walked to our first meeting last week, I realized that for the first time I was going to be the only woman in the group. Now, I must say that I've been on a number of committees in the past, within my department and outside, and my contributions have always been respected - if not lauded. If I may, I'm a bit of a rock star committee member. But in those cases the committees were often made up of a majority of women.

What I was sometimes told about the college when I first arrived here, though, was that the "big" meetings, the "real" work of the college often got decided by the "boys club," a powerful committee that included a rotating group of male faculty members.

But until I poked my head into this meeting, I'd not quite understood what it would mean to join the "boys club."

Now, I want to say that I knew the people involved, at least enough to say hello to. Some of them are from my division, and we've broken bread and tipped some wine. And I can say without equivocation that I liked all of them.

As the meeting got going, it became clear to me that the "boys club" was operating on its own, pushing things through, making decisions, and not at all involving me in the discussion. I felt a bit like a non-entity, and that was not going to stand with me. When I did finally speak up about an essential oversight in their plans, they looked at me with amusement, as if I'd just burped a bubble.

I continued, making a strong point that I knew would benefit not just my department but the whole college, but one that would involve some sacrifice and change elsewhere. The leader of this particular gathering of the "boys club" smiled condescendingly at me and said, "Katie, you understand what you're doing, right? Do you realize that all of what you've just said is going to be on the record, and that these changes are going to make a lot of people angry?"

I couldn't believe he had the gall to say it; it was clearly a threat against me. As if I didn't understand my own words! As if I was just a pretty petunia supposed to sit alongside them as they did the real work.

"Put it on the record," I said. "I'll stand by it."

What angered me the most about the "boys club" was that I could tell they wanted me to cave in, to just let them do what they always did, arrange things that best suited them, without a thought to me and my suggestions.

I think they expected that the first "girl" in their "boys club" would understand her place and bow submissively to their wishes. When it became clear I was not going to be pushed around, the faces in the room went from bemusement to real confusion. I had gotten to them, and the meeting was dismissed with a promise to come back and to revisit some issues - the very issues *I* brought up.

It was a quiet bunch who left the room, and as they did, I suspected this battle would rage on for a long while, but that the first round went to me!

So, is your college or department run by a bunch of boys? And what are you going to do about it?

Poor, poor Katie. Why were we so mean?

This is just one of several RYS posts that featured readers' reactions.  It's good to know that our ancestors didn't think much of Katie either.

Regards,

Ben

[+]


From Rate My Students, May 18, 2009

In a Stunning Reversal of Fortune, Katie, So Full of Her Own Wonder, Takes a Shit Kicking.


  • There is a sad neediness that screams out of Katie's recent post. Of course it's easy to friend the flakes, darlin'. They have no defenses against it. If they reject your friendship, they'll feel as though they're sealing their own death in your class. They are kids, first, and when an adult who is not their parent shows interest, it makes them feel like grown-ups. They're going to take to that, even though they're hardly equipped for any sort of real relationship. It's always going to be "sensei-student." Will YOU feel their love? Sure. Better to get a dog, Katie. There's a lot more reality in that relationship than the ones you're bragging about.


  • I have two, very specific recommendations for Katie. (1) Meet with the university's lawyer and describe for him/her the activities you've engaged with students, on- & off-campus. (2) Spend some time with a therapist to discuss your relationships with students, colleagues, and this blog. Katie, if you get the "all clear," then kudos to you and shame on us. Until that time, be prepared to be smacked for reasons that seem apparent to many of us but oblivious to you.


  • What kinds of students are these that they would willingly go to the home of a professor? Don't get me wrong - it's not that I don't respect the vast majority of the academics who teach at my institution, but to like them enough to cultivate some sort of friendship? I'm 18-years-old - the only way I'd be going to a professor's house is if they were a complete hottie, and there was at least a 96% chance I was going to get some. Realistically, if a professor that good-looking and slutty really exists, what are the chances they're going to want to hang out with a student?


  • Katie seems quite proud of the fact that she doesn't lead her students, and that in fact they often lead her through the material. How much are we paying you, you new age wonk?


  • I confess I'm from the older generation of instructors Katie alludes to, but could someone explain to me why calling students and being called by our first or "nick" (?) names is some pedagogical breakthrough?


  • There is something skeevy about a professor wanting students in her home. I don't care how you dress it up.


  • It's not a party, Katie. You're not there for the friendships and the relationships. There's work that needs to be covered, and I'm betting you're not getting it done.


  • There have been real losers on this page before - Wayne, you know it's you - but there's nobody as pathetic as Kalamazoo Katie...get. some. help. now.


  • "But, you see, I don't want to lead them. In fact many times my students lead me to new understandings." What nonsense. I can't imagine someone teaching brain surgery or engine repair or piano or woodworking making this sort of statement. Either you know more than your students or you don't. If you do, wear your learning gracefully and honestly. Students hate being patronized. If you don't know more than your students, you have no business teaching. It's been said many times, but I have to say it here -- this picture of the professor who sees students as a everfreshening source of potential friends is fucking creepy. Pardon my French.


  • You know, I would much rather have Wicked Walter's insane, chest-beating rants than Katie from Kalamazoo's narcissistic odes to her own wonderfulness. I love her poisoning the well strategy-- if anyone thinks that making undergrads our BFFs is a boneheaded I-await-my-sexual-harassment-lawsuit idea, then they must be a silverback. Look, I've made friends with some of my students. I'm invited to the wedding of one of them this summer, and I've hosted philosophy club cookouts on my deck. But we have become friends always after they graduate. Before then, they are all students and I am there to shepherd them through the fields of knowledge. They get goaded, praised, ass-kicked, encouraged, whatever is needed. But they are not there to be my playmates, call me nicknames (to my face), engage in Katie-style circle-jerks with me, or play mirror, mirror on the wall. And they are most certainly not there to "lead me to new understandings." Not just because it is pretty damn unlikely, but because teaching is not all about me. Here's a wild idea-- teaching has something to do with the students. I know, I'm old-school. 


Did I finally break this thing?

If you are having trouble commenting, send me an email.  I'm checking things out myself right now.

I'll keep you updated.

All the best,

Ben

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday with Twitter












Katie and her student BFFs.

From Rate Your Students, May 15, 2009


Katie From Kalamazoo on Friending the Flakes.


I won't even address any of the specific and seriously ridiculous recent postings about being friends with students.

The truth is, we are human beings first, social beings, really, and who do we have more contact with than students? Of course I'm friends with my colleagues, but my students are very dear to me.

I feel very sorry for those of you who don't see the possibility of very strong relationships with these amazing women AND men who are in our classes. It's a warm feeling for me to go to work because I know my friends await my arrival in the classroom. We call each other by our first names or "nick" names, and we go about the business of learning as real peers.

Those of you who don't understand that likely come from an earlier generation of instruction. You think you have to hold power over students in order to lead them. But, you see, I don't want to lead them. In fact many times my students lead me to new understandings.

I'm a hardass on grading: don't get me wrong. But we're a small communal society for the span of a semester (or usually much more in my case), and it's lovely to have these relationships.

Sure, I've had students in my home. I feel very very sorry for those of you who have not. You're missing wonderful and rewarding friendships.

Katie week continues with an RYS reader reaction

From Rate Your Students, April 22, 2009


How Close is Too Close? Oden from Oklahoma Wonders About BFFing Your Students.


I read with real delight the recent Katie from Kalamazoo madness, (and the excellent Lakeland Lex smackdown), because she's the type of professor I hate the most. The arrogance in every line of her post just flabbergasts me. What color is the sky on her planet?

Now, mind you, I love teaching, love students, but am not deluded enough to get to the "place" in Katie's world where I'm hugging and crying with them like they're BFFs. But I have colleagues who do get there, and I'd like to try and discourage them from that sort of insanity.

I don't know the age range of the RYS readership, but surely some folks remember proffies from their own college days. Were you hugging back then? I wasn't. There was a respectful distance between professor and student, and it made sense. The informality and "friendships" that spring up are - in my eyes - a deterrent to any real work being done. Now, if a prof is in the business to assemble a little coterie of sycophants and child-replacements, well then that's part of the problem right there.

So, I sometimes find myself cruising other academic blogs (sorry, RYS, but you aren't my only *love*), and I came across a Katie-Klone droning on about one of her own students. And while the post was fraught with "real" feeling and "real" emotion about the important "scholarship" the adult and the 19 year old were able to do "together," there was something so horribly wrong about the blogger's language.

I may joke about the topic, but I honestly think that some sort of intervention is necessary for someone who writes the following. I've anonymized the text to make it difficult to track down the unfortunate writer. I truly don't want to single this professor out; I want to shine a light on the whole idea of desiring these emotionally-drenched "friendships" with students, especially undergrads. And a further note, there is not even a hint of any sexual inappropriateness in the original text. I know that a cursory reading of the text might suggest that, but the female professor who wrote the text below is married and has the requisite photos of a sandal-wearing neo-hippie husband and their melange of kids, cats, and a minivan. There's something way more untoward involved below than just your run-of-the-mill crush on a student.
[*]

I love her. Seriously, we're true friends. I know it's strange, because I'm a professor, and it could be weird for some, but this is real. She's not just any old undergrad. She's someone I'd want in my own "crew."

While we were working on her last essay, I could tell the heavy editing and criticism I was offering was really hurting her. I saw how she felt and hugged her. She hugged me back and I nearly cried. We spent another hour and half in my office talking, some of it about the work, but really it was just two friends hanging out. She agreed to come over to my house the next night to continue talking about her progress in the class, but also for dinner and some wine.

At first I think she was worried about her grade, but when she realized that she was about the best student I'd ever had, and that I was really just getting involved because I wanted her work to be as good as it could be, we just went to a whole new level of understanding. She's so amazing, and she tells me the same thing about me.

This is why I teach, I think, not to be a famous scholar, or to teach at a bloated Ivy, but to help my students become what they can be. I've loved taking her to a place to which she never dreamed she could go. And inviting her into my own private place for wine and talk is the ultimate prize in my career.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer love: Katie

From Rate Your Students, April 20, 2009

"Yay for Me!" Kalamazoo Katie Shares the Wonder of Her Professin' Powers.


I hate to barge into your never-ending whinefest, but I had to write with the kind of news your page should be sharing.

My favorite student from the past 2 years has just been notified that she's won our uni's top academic award. She told me in my office and we hugged and cried like we were BFFs.

My student came into my class as a shy and timid wallflower, but during our time together (and the material we covered - DON'T DISMISS THE POWER OF JANE AUSTEN) she has blossomed into a wild and beautiful Michigan rose. It was hard work, but I'm glad I took the time with her. Many professors wouldn't have seen the diamond underneath the coal, but I saw she could achieve anything, I mean anything. At times I felt I wanted her success more than her, but instead of being bitter or annoyed, I kept pushing and challenging. I think it's the best teaching I've ever done in my life.

She's just freaking awesome. Like my best students, she's as good as any student at any top ten uni around here, and I even mean those stuckup Ann Arbor types - whoops. So many of my dunderhead colleagues think of us a mediocre state uni, but that's not what it's like in MY CLASSES.

And now we both have this tremendous honor. I will attend the ceremony as a co-conspirator, this great young woman's mentor and hero, and I couldn't be happier. (I'm tearing up just thinking about that scene!) I'm so proud of her and the teacher I've been to her.

That's what this page should be about.

Summer reruns: A week of Katie

This week we highlight my own favorite character, Katie from Kalamazoo.  She stirred up interesting responses from CM and RYS readers.  Even though she always took a beating, she came back to taunt us.  I give her credit for not slinking away.  Her appearances and subsequent reader feedback generated a lot of blog posts.

Those of you who know about Katie may remember how her relationship with CM and RYS ended.  We'll address the whole I'm-not-Katie,-Quit-Copying-My-Blog-Posts issue on Friday.  Without further ado, here's Katie.


[+]


From Rate Your students, December 12, 2008

A New "Regular." Katie From Kalamazoo On The Market.

I am not convinced I even want to do this. Katie is not my "real" name, nor is it my "blogger" name. It happens to be the name of my BFF from grad school, and she's letting me use it.

I'm not a big fan of this site, but recently I was turned on to a few posts that I thought showed some promise. So I've been checking it out. When you posted a few of my pieces - for which I was grateful until I saw the "funny" titles you gave them - I never imagined the vitriol with which my very modest suggestions and ideas were met by your following of depressed academic goons.

So, I'm surprised you're interested in my voice, and I decided to take you up on the offer purely to show the other side of things. Perhaps I'll learn something from the process. Perhaps you'll learn something from me, as long as you listen and not judge.

My first posting will be on the job market. It's a pet peeve of mine how poorly junior faculty are treated. Your abominable "gumdrop unicorn" dustup from last year showed a great deal of what's wrong in our profession. Talented young blood is forced to stagnate. The deadwood rules, and people like me hop to a new job as soon as we have the wherewithal. And then of course we're blamed for that as well.

But, that's too bad. The truth is that my generation of teachers IS the future of the academic profession, and we WILL be the powerbrokers of universities and colleges for the next 25 years or so. So what we do, how we handle ourselves, and the courses WE chart will make the American academy what it will be. You don't like it? You don't have to. Attrition is a wonderful tool. Step aside now or later. It makes no difference.

So, I'm on the market this year, despite the fact that I'm at a decent enough state university now. But I'm on some kind of treadmill-track nobody told me about. I strive and achieve - even publishing a book in my third year! - and I get little or no notice. If I weren't so kind, I'd say my colleagues are jealous of me. Oh no, not little ole me, the junior faculty member with the WORST OFFICE IN THE BUILDING.

Yet, that's how it's gone. So I've got my application in at several excellent SLACs nearer my home in the northeast. (Oh, I went to [a famous private uni in New England], in case you're wondering.) And getting back there or its environs are what I'm eager to do. My BFF got a job in counseling in [that city], and my mother and father still live nearby. But any school within a morning's drive will suffice, and at 30, I think I've got more than enough credentials to pick and choose a job. I suspect - and my dissertation advisor [an extremely famous British Lit scholar] confirms - that I'm doing exactly the right thing, searching for a department that will welcome me, my scholarship, and my leadership, not a department where I'm simply a cog in the wheel.

But the market is tough. When I took my current job, I applied to several nondescript schools just like it. Some were wowed by me, and some could care less. I knew then I was looking at the wrong academic homes. I didn't trust myself to shoot for the highest level of schools, and I kick myself to this day about that.

But I've thrived here. My student evaluations are higher than anyone else's in the department. (Don't ask me; I just know.) My students love me. I have four peer-reviewed articles, and of course my book, which was a quantum leap revision of my dissertation - which I was told was of publishable quality from the start.

But if you will allow, I'll chronicle the market this year, starting with my upcoming visit to San Francisco at this year's Modern Language Association meeting. I'm not only taking on interviews, I'm also presenting a paper on [a scholarly look at a current reality TV show]. It's sure to turn a few heads. From San Francisco I'll report on the conference activities, the networking, the schmoozing, the panels, and of course my job interviews.

Just for record keeping, I've applied to 12 asst. level jobs and 2 assoc. level jobs. I will push hard on any of the asst. level jobs for those positions to be converted to assoc. level, obviously, having the background I have. I only have one interview set so far, but it's a slow year - what with Thanksgiving being so late and all. This week all of us job market folks should hear the good news of those deadly (but sometimes fun) hotel interviews.

Thank you for this forum. I look forward to checking in regularly.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday comics

Both of the following headlines are real.  Only one is satire.
Florida university library to lend drones to students 

Pop Quizzes Require Advanced Notice in New Transparency Plan

OK, here's some real satire, though it's alarmingly sad and accurate.  Damn, this whole "comic" thing is getting really difficult.

PhD Comics: Good advice for interns and postdocs

BTW, you can watch the PhD movie for free in June.  No kidding!

Another comic found on Twitter: Jobs of a teacher.

Here's something that is true and funny.  Northwestern makes a spelling mistake on their diplomas.  For journalism.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday afternoon links

Wombat of the Copier sent this too me.  I can't decide whether this should be news for today or something funny for Sunday.  A high school principal is busted for plagiarizing a farewell letter to students.

I'm often less than impressed by faculty (excluding adjuncts) who claim that they are speaking truth to power or questioning authority when they rail against the government.  This guy, however, is the real deal.

It appears that some people are having trouble dealing with the football off-season.  In fact, many are resorting to watching soccer.  I can see the similarities between the two games.  Removing everything from football except the green field, punts and field goals, you've got soccer.  I can see the allure of this beautiful game.  Anyway, here's a professor explaining the history of the word "soccer."  He even has an English accent so he sounds extra smart.

Friday, June 20, 2014

OK, this is the last cookie post.

From College Misery, April 16, 2013.

If It's Tuesday, I Must Be Baffled.


I'm teaching a single section of a cross-listed course, one that gets offered in 2 different departments. It's my first rotation with it, so I tracked down a colleague in another department who also teaches it.

"What do you do for the final?" I asked.

"Oh, I stopped giving finals a few years ago. The students hate them. Too much pressure."

I smiled. I just wanted to go home, but I decided to ask anyway. "What do you do instead?"

"Oh, we have a party."

Of course you do, I thought.






Cookies = bad. Got it. That's why I only bring Rice Krispy Treats to class.

From Rate Your Students, January 18, 2010

Despite what the title below says, this is not the end of the story of cookies.

Some Final Cookie Perspectives. Seriously.


Val, your recent post gives me reason to believe that you genuinely care about the feelings and self-esteem of students; indeed, the concern that you express about students feeling "safe enough" to join class discussions indicates a deep commitment to creating a warm, loving environment in which students can participate.

In other words, you're a goddamn snowflake coddler.

It's not that I disagree that different styles of teaching are better suited to different students; that's a perfectly valid point to make. Or rather, it would be, if the discussion was about teaching methods. The topic in question involves bringing in "special treats" for students, and if that's actually a good practice. Whether or not you pass out fattening sweets to an already abundantly corpulent study body in no way affects the manner in which you deliver information, assess learning, or provide feedback. What it does affect is the way in which you (and, significantly, other teachers) are perceived by the class.

I don't care how you parse it - giving out cookies in class is something that is correctly associated with elementary education. When you distribute baked goods to your class, you signal to the students that this is not a mature exploration of knowledge conducted by rational adults; rather, you indicate that the college classroom is no different than Ms. Thistletwat's kindergarten classroom. It's one of the those little things that speaks great volumes to students, just like the way you dress and the way you speak. I know that tie-dyed mouth breathers like you can't bear the thought of putting on a nice skirt or a clean pair of pants, but surprisingly, young adults act more like adults if you act like one (instead of acting like a "cool aunt," which is what morons like you ultimately aspire to).

What is particularly offensive about your post is your namby-pamby call for "tolerance" or some such bullshit: "[I]t's their classroom, so should anyone really be judging them for using the method that they think is appropriate?"

Actually, yes, we should be judging you, because the expectations that you create in your classroom are often carried by students into the classrooms of other professors... you know, the ones that act like professionals? Your self-centered approach to teaching, in which you put the well-being of students (and the university at large) behind your own pathetic need to be "cool" and "liked" by your students is even worse than the egotism of the snowflakes- you should know better.

College classrooms can be a scary place, but so can the real world. The IRS isn't going to give these kids cookies to encourage them to ask for help on their income tax return, and no boss is going to give them stupid rewards to encourage them to pull their weight at the office. Your job as an educator isn't to provide them with courage or self-esteem; it's to give them a reason to feel confident about themselves... by showing them how to act and teaching them how to think.

Doing anything else isn't teaching- it's trying to be their friend.

[+]

Did anyone bother reading the comments on the Chronicle piece?

Most of the cookie-bringers openly confess they do it because they have a "refreshments" budget or some-such.

Gee, how many of them actually tell their precious cherubs the money's not theirs?

How many of them ever pipe up at faculty meetings and say, "Hey, you know, we really should just divvy up this windfall among the plebes working for us so they can get the kudos too"?

How many of these tenured or tenure-track faculty members ever actually suggest they use that money to, you know, pay their adjuncts a livable wage instead of spending obscene amounts of money on Taco bars and movie nights that everyone knows have spurious pedagogical value?

Cuz, here's the thing: I really don't care if Professor Tenured uses her personal money to bake cookies or buy doughnuts or throw pizza parties. It's her money, her time in class, whatever.

But I do get my knickers in a knot when I am being judged more harshly because I lack the economic resources to buy the snowflakes' affection as well. If I am barely making enough to pay my rent and feed myself, where am I supposed to find the money to bribe the cherubs with Dunkins and Snickers? Cuz we all know I, as an adjunct, am not getting all that special refreshment money being tossed hither and yon to the "real" faculty (you know, the ones actually invited to faculty meetings and such).

In grad school, I encountered my first colleague who was a briber-with-treats: Treaty Trish. TT wasn't on an assistantship, but she managed to wrangle a TA position because the department was desperate. In order to ensure her future teaching opportunities via good evals, Treaty Trish proceeded to coddle and bribe and kiss the ass of every student in her section. Then I found out TT was bringing donuts every morning she taught. Treaty Trish's daddy paid her rent and her tuition and her car payments, so she had all this extra pin money to use to bribe her students. And let's be serious, that's what she was doing. And it worked: Treaty Trish became the beloved, understanding, easy-going (if incompetent...ssshhh...don't tell anyone...especially all her new undergrad friends) TA and I became the mean, villainous cretin who never brought donuts or candy or printed their e-mailed papers or anything else that required me using my personal money for them. I didn't have it to waste on adults who were supposed to be responsible for themselves. I was already learning the shake-the-inkjet-cartridge trick to get my own papers printed! And if I bought a donut, it was as a bribe for myself to get through reading and grading the snowflakes' illiterate scrawl.

As far as I know, Treaty Trish is still whoring herself out to any department desperate enough to hire her. I, on the other hand, stopped getting rehired. Is it because I'm incompetent, or is it just because I didn't have the money to bribe the students into doing their work or giving me great evaluations?

If only I had that cookie budget, I too could have baked (or bought) for my snowflakes. Nestle Toll House for everyone!

[+]

What the hell is wrong with you people? Step back for a second. You're arguing the pedagogical implication of...cookies. I can think of four cases involving food in the classroom right now that ought to end this discussion right now.
  1. Ms. Super-Adjunct. Used to bring candy to class fairly regularly. Led a lively and informal class, did a thorough job of teaching her material and communicating her enthusiasm about the subject matter. I learned a lot in that class.
  2. Ms. Cupcake. Had a cupcake party during a class session once. Nice enough class, but the subject matter was painfully obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together. I learned absolutely nothing in the class, but her general demeanor made showing up somewhat more pleasant than it would have been otherwise.
  3. Ms. SuperProf-Extraordinaire. Hands out candy after halloween and during finals. Absolutely the most incredible teacher I have ever been taught by. Usually comes off kind of bitchy, takes no shit from anyone, and Knows Her Shit. Despite the thoughtful candy-handouts, she is almost universally hated.
  4. Ms. Bumblefuck. Handed out food a couple of times in class. This was her first year teaching, and she blundered her way through it. Universally despised for sheer incompetence.

Whether or not you hand out food doesn't fucking matter. (Sample size: 4. Totally statistically significant.)

You know what matters? Knowing your shit and knowing how to teach it in a coherent way. If you choose to hand out food, great. That was nice of you. If you don't, no worries. Your Costco-candy is not what we come to class for.
 
 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

RYS: We came for the smackdown but stayed for the cookies. Summer reruns part IV

From Rate Your Students, January 17, 2010

That Cookie Thing May One Day Be Seen As Our Defining Issue. Some Flava From the RYS Mailbag.


There's been a steady stream of "cookie" emails. Here are some short notes, and then on Monday we have some longer pieces we'll post.
  • When will you all realize that bringing donuts or candy or baked goods to class isn't just about the students? It's my version of bringing a flask to class--they aren't the only ones who get to eat the stuff. I tend to bring snacks to class when I've had a particularly bad week, and I've baked something sugary and fattening to destress. The class that was the one bright spot in the dismal mess--or contributed the least to the badness--gets a treat, and I get someone to help me eat a tray of brownies so I don't end up eating them all myself.
  • While I was teaching, not bringing munchies to class could have resulted in disciplinary action for not creating a "safe" learning environment. On the other hand, when I started on my first master's degree 30 years ago, the only way the department could get the grad students to attend the weekly seminars was to bribe them with food. If it didn't, we would have stayed away in droves because most of the sessions were brain-numbingly dull.
  • I didn't think I'd do this, but the first time the debate went around, for some reason, it made me LESS self conscious. I bring my HS students juice every test day. I bring my college kids juice for the final because I figure after they've already done their evals, it can't look that suspicious. I'd bring in coffee for the college kids, but I'm too cheap.
  • I love bringing little baked treats to my students. I have a really powerful relationship with my students, and since I'm great in the kitchen, I like to share that special part of myself with my students.
  • I don't know how anyone can not see the bringing of food or "treats" to college students as anything other than pandering. How desperate and lonely are these people?
  • I'm a senior at a big football school in the Pac-10. I've had a couple of professors bring brownies to our class. They were the worst instructors I ever had, and all they were doing was trying to soften us up for evaluations. It didn't work. I ate 2 brownies each day and slammed them anyway. How'd that work out?
  • Maybe I'm missing some pedagogical implication, but I don't see anything in the bringing of cookies to class that has anything to do with the teaching of said class. There's the distinct stench of desperation in the act, and those who don't see it must be a little cockeyed.
  • I think one of your earlier posts said it all about those who bring cookies: I would bet you're not liked very much by your students. That's a shame, because the relationship between teacher and student can be so rewarding. My students call me "Mom." We get along and we do great work together. I have the very highest standards, just as if they were my own children, and even though people in my own department jealously make fun of me, my students are behind me and support our shared learning environment. Maybe you like to be an unfeeling information conduit, but many of us TEACH in the classroom, and make lifelong relationships with the most treasured people we'll ever meet - OUR STUDENTS.
  • Sometimes a cookie is just a cookie.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In retrospect, we did talk a lot about cookies, didn't we? Part 3

From Rate Your Students, September 20, 2008

Some Anti-Cookie Folks Raise Their Mean Heads To Cry "Enough!"

"It's nice when our students perform well. I often bring them little treats, candy or gum, or occasionally hot chocolate on a frosty day. They work hard, and I want them to know that I care about them. "

  • Holy shit I cannot believe this. When I taught K-3 in public schools we did this. For God's sake these are college students, most are adults. They shouldn't be bribed or rewarded for meeting expectations. Professors who do this are doing a disservice to students and setting up future professors for stupid expectations.

  • When my students do something great, I praise them, verbally, sometimes with grades. I don't need them to like me so I don't make them cookies, brownies, bring them donuts, give them a party, or anything else. I might if we were a Cub Scout troop.

  • I'm embarrassed to be a proffie today. Someone wrote yesterday that it's a "miracle" if students do something right? Really? Are you even trying then? What kind of dunderhead can't encourage students to at least follow instructions. If they aren't doing these bare minimum type activities - bringing an assignment when it's due!?!?! - then surely most of your students fail, right? Well, no, not really, because I've seen the numbers. I hope no non-academic reads that shit about cookies. We're already enough of a laughingstock.

  • Yesterday someone on your blog said she is proud that her students call her "Mom." This is someone who's in need of some psychological help, and I'm not even joking or being hyperbolic. There's something wrong if you're an adult professor who has this kind of need. Please, reconsider what it seems your colleagues tell you. You're not doing them any favors by being their mom.

  • Uh, being "liked" by students is not my goal. My goal is to increase their ability to reason, think, read, write, and contend with the world. If I just wanted to be liked, I'd bake cookies and give them balloons (and high grades). But we must be more responsible than that. I'm sickened by the whole "cookies" thing. This might work in the 5th grade, but it's not appropriate for college level students. Surely you can remember some of your professors in college. Did any of them (from the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc.) bring you cookies if you remembered to bring your homework? (Sure, I once got some weed from a Philosophy prof in the early 70s, but that was not the same as this...I digress.)

  • Well as I see it, it's all about restraining myself. I have one of those generous heart things going, and I'm also thrilled when the students do something fun & wonderful, like their work. And I came straight from the Make-Them-A-Happy-Treat school myself. I also resist reminding them when things are due, calling them when they're absent more than a week, and nagging them to drop the class (much to the Admin's consternation). I sit on my hands a lot. You see--it's about them. Not me. The students are the ones who have to figure out how to create their own rewards and "feel-goods" for themselves--they're the ones who have to find their own internal motivation (see this Washington Post article.) After all, when they leave high school, the cookies and the money-for-grades and the all-day suckers and the pizza parties are left behind and they meet us: college professors expecting them to motivate themselves, get to class (or drop if they decide not to come at all), stay up late to finish their English or Math or Soc because it's important intrinsically to their own sense of who they are, independent of what others may say. . . or bring.  In the Big World we are expected to keep going even when the Cookie Fairies don't show up with our treat for attending a faculty meeting, grading stacks of papers when we'd rather be outside in the garden. I want my students to grow up and be able to run the world when I'm retired and in the rest home, and I aim to do my part.

  • I stopped reading Bardiac long ago. Too twee for my taste. And, really, I can’t stand that whole cohort of anonymous academic bloggers. I can think of only a few good reasons to blog anonymously, like ragging on students the way we do at RYS, but most of these people have no real reason to hide behind a pseudonym. For the most part they are a bunch of tedious navel-gazers and on more than one occasion I have seen those pseudonyms used as weapons to take down an academic enemy. That is, I’ve seen things posted anonymously that the writer should have been willing to own. Bitch PhD is the worst, but others are nearly as bad. That whole crew has a massive sense of self-entitlement. Snowflake professors. And cookies? And being called Mom? Seems like some people have some serious issues defining the boundaries of their professional lives. Next thing you know they’ll be showing up at the big game. Oh, wait . . .

  • What? They can't get students to meet expectations on the merits of their own teaching? I tell my students they will not receive token praise for doing what they are expected to do, which is successfully meeting the criteria on all assignments in this course. Giving praise for doing what is expected encourages a sense of complacency rather than promoting a desire to learn and produce higher quality work on subsequent assignments. Cookies? Candy? Treats? Who are these dumbasses kidding? 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(Late) Tuesday with Twitter
















The history of cookies, part 2

From Rate Your Students, September 19, 2008.

Where We're Apparently On the Wrong Side of the Whole "Baking Cookies For Students" Thing. And We Hope "Mom" Will Forgive Us, But She's a Nutjob.


Did anyone catch that line that said we liked Bardiac's blog? Seriously, we do. But we've taken a beating already for us questioning the whole cookie thing. Maybe we're not big on cookies. Maybe we think it's a little 5th grade. Maybe - according to one writer - we're just "plain dumb." All of this may be true.

But, we did get a kick out of her recent "For the Win" post that celebrates how well her class did without her when she was an hour late. We thought that was sort of heartening. But of course we didn't mention that, did we. Ah well, let the shit-kicking begin. Luckily, as one writer put it, we don't have any "feelings" anyway, so have it.

  • I know this is a fun place to let loose some, but did you have to make fun of Bardiac? Her class did something great! She felt as if they'd earned a little treat for this, and she shared it with her readers. Can't you see the good in that?

  • Do not mock us for our moments of excitement! Our days are filled with the drivel of lethargy. The slugs are perched in their places, and we throw salt at the room hoping the inevitable biological explosion of goo will produce a comment we can count as a discussion. We are reduced to well choreographed performances instead of the well proven dissemination of information, power points with pictures so they don't get bored. They REMEMBERED for heaven's sake! They DID WHAT THEY WERE TOLD!! It truly IS nothing short of a miracle. Call the Vatican -- we're in awe of this moment. Honestly. Truly. I'm very serious here. I'm nearly in tears at the mere possibility that out there somewhere a group of students are awake. Hell's Bells...I'LL bake the cookies!

  • Take the stick out of your ass. It's nice when our students perform well. I often bring them little treats, candy or gum, or occasionally hot chocolate on a frosty day. They work hard, and I want them to know that I care about them. LONG LIVE BARDIAC. She's my new hero!

  • I would bet you're not liked very much by your students. That's a shame, because the relationship between teacher and student can be so rewarding. If you don't like Bardiac's classroom, you'd really hate mine. My students call me "Mom." Yes, and they always have. We get along and we do great work together. I have the very highest standards, just as if they were my own children, and even though people in my own department jealously make fun of me, my students are behind me and support our shared learning environment. Bardiac should not be made to minimized by your aspersions. She should bake those cookies and maybe a platter of brownies as well if she feels like it. Maybe you like to be an unfeeling information conduit, but many of us TEACH in the classroom, and make lifelong relationships with the most treasured people we'll ever meet - OUR STUDENTS.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Who wants a cookie? A review of cookie posts from RYS & CM

From Rate Your Students, September 19, 2008.


We Love You, But If You're Baking Cookies For Them IN SEPTEMBER, There's Something Amiss!

We get turned on to lots of academic bloggers. Some folks invite us to see their own pages, but mostly readers tell us to check someone out they like. We usually don't like what we see, but we like Bardiac. Her tone is great, the blog is varied, and there's a great real world / academic world dynamic that feels authentic.

So,
please check her out.

BUT, we hate this recent post. Not because we don't want a cookie - we always want a cookie - but because it makes us wonder: IS THIS WHAT IT'S COME TO? A STUDENT DOES WHAT WE ASK, WHAT WE KNOW WILL HELP THEM, AND WE'RE FLABBERGASTED THAT THEY DO IT? SO MUCH SO THAT WE'RE BAKING FOR THE LITTLE TOTS?

So, to Bardiac, we're sorry to putting up a fuss about cookie day, but forgive us, okay? (And if you make any with raisins, send them to compound. We like them to buffer the alcohol.)

- ~ -

From Bardiac: Just Another Academic Blogger

Seriously, It's peer editing day for my writing class today. I reminded them yesterday that they need to bring copies of their draft for every member of their group. Then we counted off groups so they'd know how many people are in their group so they can make the right number of copies. Then I reminded them again that they need to bring copies, just as class was about to end.

So I'm taking bets on how many students will appear at the beginning of class without copies.

Additional bets on how many of those didn't bring paper to print out and how many didn't bring change to make copies. (Printing from campus computers is free, but you have to supply the paper; copy machines aren't free, but you don't have to supply the paper.)

I'm jaded, aren't I?

!!!!! SPECIAL REPORT !!!!!

I lost the bet! I'm so excited! Every single one of the students brought a draft, and every draft I saw was several pages long!

I think I'm so excited I'll bake them cookies this evening or something!