Monday, April 27, 2009
Once upon a time, in a distant land, there was an institution of higher learning called Eden College. No Snowflakes attended this utopian university, only those eager, teachable minds. They absorbed knowledge, participated in class discussion, and could synthesize material from one class to another. They went forth, multiplying. Until That Day happened. On That Day the educational juggernaut as it was known was forever transformed into whatever circle of hell it is now. On That Day, two particular students, one male, one female, decided to come to class late. That Day, education fell.
We now live and work in the aftermath. Like its spiritual counterpart, the consequences have been far-reaching and progressive. To this, no one would argue. I had thought I could patiently deal with the manifestations of this fallen world, until yesterday. Yesterday, I broke. I cannot fathom how far the students have dropped, that following directions has become a nearly impossible task for them. The issue at hand was citing a research paper. They were taught how to do it. Directions were posted on Blackboard. Every one of them met with me with their rough drafts, with instructions, "Be sure when you get to citing, you let me see that you are on the right track." Nope. Didn't work. "Oh, but it's now how we learned it in another class!" Tough crap. I didn't teach that other class. Then today, projects due, a three-part project. Directions are on Blackboard. I nearly begged them to remember to do all three parts. I pleaded to let me see drafts. Nope. Maybe 33% of the class followed directions.
I wish I could say it was one Stupid Snowflake that struggles with this. I wish I could pin the blame on a dope-smoking frat boy or some other person we all love to hate. But it's most of them; the good, the bad, and the ones we can't figure out how they even got into college. It's depressing. How do they expect to succeed after college if they can't succeed when we are telling them everything to do?
Next semester, I'm going to do it differently. I am not going to have directions for anything. I'll just tell them to create their own assignments and grade them. Why should I bother with creating methods for them to increase their learning and mastery over material they claim to want to know for their future professions if they won't comply with how to do them correctly and successfully? Does anyone else feel my pain?