Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Random bullets of back to school

  • It just wouldn't be a syllabus, would it, without a mistake on it? I don't mean a typo (which there mercifully weren't any of), but a mistake as in put the wrong date and so on. Perfection is an insult to the academic gods. That's my defense, and I'm sticking to it.
  • If they are half as excited as I am to start the new semester, we're all good.
  • I have to keep reminding myself that in the total scheme of things, the administration does not give the tiniest damn* about the many, many hours I put into creating a course, nor to teaching it, prepping for it, or grading the papers for it, although of course they would say otherwise, and that this in turn makes absolutely no difference to the way I approach teaching. It does not prevent me from spending too much time (and, to an extent, having fun) prepping for the courses. Part of why we all get incensed about the "lazy professor" nutcase rhetoric out there now is that it is hard, demanding, and absorbing work that we do because we're committed to it and want to do it well. Go ask Matt Damon if you don't believe me.
  • Anybody who says teaching isn't (or can't be) absorbing intellectual work is a fool. There, I've said it.
  • Reader, I banned them--electronic devices, I mean, a la the airplane speech, although I didn't actually give that speech. We'll be using them at some times during the classes, but let's see if that creates a mass exodus from any of the classes.
  • Now back to course prep.
(*as in all administrations would like teaching to be done well, but what they reward in terms of tenure and promotions isn't primarily teaching.)


Dr. Koshary said...

Hooray! I'm trying the same technology ban in my classes. I haven't noticed any significant shift in enrollment yet, but the add/drop period ain't over yet.

Anonymous said...

I gave them a syllabus with typos and said so. The assignment was to read closely and comb for errors, omissions, and ambiguities: the more they found, the more points they got. They loved this.

It contained a technology ban. Complaint: student must take all calls because it could be day care calling to say her baby is sick. I said no dice, drop the class then.

She said, OK, I will give the day care a second person as emergency reference for these 3 50 minute segments each week. Hm. Had it been me, I'd have arranged for that automatically, in the first place. Now you have to catch bluffs, drive hard bargains, etc. This is why I am so tired.

undine said...

Dr. Koshary, I hope they don't mind, but at least I'll be happy. We will be using computers in the classroom on a limited basis, but now I won't be facing a sea of inattention every day.

Profacero, that's a great way to look at it. I was a little concerned when you wrote the other day about being so tired, by the way.

Funny about Money said...

LOL! Item by item:

Nope, it sure wouldn't.

Maybe; mebbe not. One would like to think they are at least half excited, but it would be unwise to take a poll. In terms of faculty morale, that is.

Oh, they do give a damn. They are pleased to get you to do all that demanding, sophisticated work for minimum wage, or for something less than that.

Many are fools; few are called upon.

Good luck.

You're not done yet???? Why do so many of my colleagues put off course prep until right before the semester, or at best until semester or summer break? We are not paid to work during summer and winter breaks, and so we should not be working during these periods. For that reason, it is right and meet (remember that?) to get your course prep done before the end of the preceding semester. Hallelujah, brothers and sister. :-D