In between admin, prepping classes, meeting, and still trying to keep some time for writing, I take out a few minutes to read higher education sites for distraction, which are filled with stuff I already know--teaching tips, how to handle email, and the like as though it is a fresh, new thing. I could have written them myself. This annoys me, because it violates my prime directive of not wasting my time. What should I do?
Signed, Been there, done that
Dear Been there,
You know the answer to this one: you are looking for distraction in all the wrong places, and you, not they, are wasting your time.
Those sites are for people who are just starting out, and to them, those things are exciting and new. You know how kittens and puppies get intrigued by things that your cat or dog now ignore, and how nice you think it is that they are excited by them? This information is valuable, just not to you. Be happy that people find them valuable, and stop reading them, or you'll be saying, "hey, kids, get off my lawn" at the next faculty meeting. Oh, and pick up a book instead.
Dear Ms. Undine,
I noticed that you wrote about your lengthy syllabus with lots of policies, and there is a recent Slate article about the same thing. I have two questions. First, how did two people decide to write about this at the same time? Second, do you agree with the article about just writing tl;dr and protesting the syllabus?
Signed, Mysteries of the universe
There are only two explanations for your first question: either (1) I have massive powers of telepathy and the ability to make the universe bend to my will by echoing my thoughts or (2) it's the beginning of the semester and everyone is making up a syllabus. Obviously the first is the rational explanation.
About your second question: No, I don't agree that the long syllabus is the decline of academia as we know it. When you explain the syllabus, you can emphasize certain parts, but if it's all there, they can read (or, okay, ignore) it on their own. They are not going to follow a link, and everyone knows it, so that's a non-starter. My only regret is the absence of sealing wax.
Dear Ms. Undine,
I had a conversation today in which someone observed that her male teachers were more apt to share information about themselves when introducing themselves to the class than her female teachers. Do you think this is true?
Signed, Gender difference or coincidence?
I don't know, but I'm curious about this. Readers, what do you do when you introduce yourselves, or what do you think?