Friday, March 21, 2008

Horace the Hippie and the Red Pen Conspiracy.

Junior faculty have mandatory sessions with this dippy flippy "master" instructor who wears Hawaiian shirts in the middle of icy cold and has Farrah Fawcett feathery bangs. Our sessions with him are *agony* because he dictates to us "youthful instructors" the latest fashionable, watered down horseshit from educational theory designed to de-center us massively powerful assistant and adjunct professors from our positions of "authority" over the helpless widdle sons and daughters of the American elite.

Recently he lectured us on how important it was NEVER to mark students' papers with Red Pens, because the Red Pen would discourage them and suggest to them that their work was something that others could deface. Instead, we were to write them all individual letters, commenting not on what is right and wrong, but instead giving gentle guidance on how a student's choices in the assignment reflect their thought processes.

I’m teaching a total of 150 students, and I only have one worthless TA. I objected: individual letters to 150 students? He looked at the rest of the group, sighed, and said "You'll find, as your career unfolds, that you can always find excuses for not doing your best by your students."