Friday, April 28, 2006

Smackdown On The Whole Donut Thing

A reply to the donut post.

I refuse to think of college students as "kids." They aren't kids, though each is someone's child. They're young to be sure. But they are also old enough to vote and old enough to die in battle. Some have already been to Iraq and back with National Guard units. Who are you calling "kid"?

I'm impatient too with donuts. And candy, whoever is giving it out. As one of my students, seemingly going mad, said to me, "It's demeaning!" I'm tired of, "He's a great teacher, he always lets us out early." Oh, and pizza. Especially on filling-out-evaluations day. I think that a professor should use class meetings as intended (or replace them with even more-time-consuming stuff like individual conferences). Don't pander with "treats." Have students over for a meal, if you'd like to share food and conversation. That's a genuine learning experience. Let your students see where and how you live. They'll likely be nervous as hell, but it'll mean something to them, and they'll remember it.

And I'm impatient with crayons, and drawing pictures in class. I'm impatient with classroom games: wordsearches, bingo, and the rest of it. And the dreary "group presentations" followed by weak applause. I'm impatient with faculty members who semester-by-semester cheapen the value of an education by turning college into an extension of grade school.