Sunday, September 14, 2014

Signing off.

College Misery is up and running again.  I will be there.  You should be there too.

Since AWC will be put back on the shelf, I suppose I should say something that's like a farewell.  It feels odd since I'll probably see you at CM now anyway.

I want to sincerely thank everybody who contributed to AWC, especially the new authors who never contributed to RYS or CM before.  Please, keep doing that at the new College Misery site.

We were running on fumes here for a while and I'm sorry that I couldn't build up the community as much as I wanted.  We did end with a great post from Wombat that itself had a happy ending. Even though the site didn't set any pageview records, I know from your emails that many of you enjoyed it and some of you needed it.  Some days, I needed it.  You'll never realize how good I felt knowing that I was helping scholars and educators get through their day.

Thank you all for participating and reading here at AWC.  I'm going to finish the last bit of bourbon in the water cooler and pack it away.  See you at College Misery!

I am,

Your former moderator,

Beaker Ben


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wombat gets some backup

I have a new favorite student.  There's a middle aged guy, burned out, braids his beard into something that looks like a pig's tail (not pigtails - literally like a pig's tail - tiny and dirty and twirly and without any clear purpose).  He shuffles in late every day - eyes glued to phone - his phone rings repeatedly - I've asked him to turn it off - he seems to actually try - his classmates have asked him - one looked like they'd throw it out the window.  The phone still rings.  He texts constantly - or at least the whole time he's in class.  Not only does he have the gall to rudely ask questions in a way that indicates I've not bothered to explain something, despite being 20 minutes late - he frequently asks questions about things I've said since he bothered to join us.  Sometimes I'll re-explain something because I assume others would benefit anyway so why not?  And then he'll say "Well see you should say that - just writing down [what is on the board now] instead of first telling us [what was just on the board and had to be erased so I could write what is on the board now] isn't really teaching" - the class is going nuts.  I've tried real hard to get him to shut the fuck up - but I'm failing.

He sits in the front row next to the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.  She's mesmerizing - she's stunning - she has never said a word. 

Today he made a "you're a useless professor" gesture at me, and leaned over to ask the Goddess a question.  And this is when she became my favorite student EVER.

She never took her eyes off me.  She put up a palm in his direction.  She sat calmly and quietly, but clearly, said:
This is how it's going to be.  If you ask me a question and I can help you I will.  But if you ask me something the professor just said, I can't help you.  Nobody can help you, except for you. And if you want to help you this is how you're going to do it.  You're going to stop coming in whenever you damn well please and you're going to stop shuffling along with your face in that phone looking like a damn fool.  You're going to listen and take notes and then if you're still confused you can at least ask a question that has value instead of just starting again at the beginning every day like someone stole something from you.  The only one stealing from your education is you.  Now do you still want to ask me a question or do you think it would be better to turn yourself around and be looking back at the lesson the professor is trying to teach you, so that you, and I, and everyone else in this room can get back to what we paid for:  The professor's lesson?

-- Wombat of the Copier



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday Lynx

We bust students' chops around here a lot but Saturday news is usually reserved for faculty misbehaving.  August was a slow month but some of our colleagues are now giving us law-abiding types a bad name.  Maybe their dean should have scheduled another class for them, just to keep them out of trouble.

Let's start with Professor David Pitts, chair of the Department of Public Administration and Policy at American University.  He tried to set a shopping mall on fire and broke into a pharmacy. 

This next story is embarrassing to me.  "Chemistry professor Byron Bennett shoots his own foot with concealed gun in class."  I'm also disappointed in his students because they haven't made any funny comments on RMP about this.

His class should come with a trigger warning: "Duck!"
Shows the most unusual classroom demonstrations I've ever seen.

Always talk to him face-to-face.  Don't ask him to shoot you an email.

Often confuses the 2nd Amendment with 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

It's a gun in his pocket.  He's not happy to see you.

 So many possibilities.

Have a safe weekend!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Worse than Syllabus Week

A student emailed me Sunday afternoon.  This is the entire message.

dEAR dOCTOR, MY NAME IS aBSENT aRNOLD AND I JUST ARRIVED AND WOULD LIKE SOME HELP GETTING CAUGHT UP IN CLASSES.  aLSO WHERE IS OUR CLASSROOM?

We've been in class for two weeks.  Two fucking weeks.  We have our first exam this week and there's been two homework assignments and two lab sessions completed by students who either give a shit or just pretend to do so.

I responded politely that all course material is posted on the LMS.  Good luck, dIPSHIT.

--  Bob from Bennington