Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Quick Hits: Things We Could Do Better

The mail for our recent call for posts concerning things profs can do better this semester has been great. We've gotten much more than we expected, but a lot of it is short, and a lot of it repeats. So we've tried to distill it into this quick hit list:
  • More than anything, I want to quit taking it so personally when my students refuse to learn, refuse to listen, or refuse to talk in class. I know I'm giving them the chances.
  • I want to find a way to grade essays without investing my entire weekend into the process.
  • My students deserve a happier professor, and I'm going to leave my personal malaise in my office and go to class in a better mood.
  • I haven't done it since my first year here, but I'm going to start strolling over to the cafeteria at least once a week so I can eat with some students.
  • I think your CFP is probably about students, but I want to be a little kinder to my colleagues. The tension around this place was so high last year - we're running 2 job searches and everyone's miserable. So I'm going to stop along the hallways this week and say howdy to everyone.
  • I'm going to get on Facebook and see what the hell is going on there!
  • I've decided to have my students turn in papers with numerical codes on them instead of their names. I feel as though I too often grade essays and papers based on what I "think" the student is capable of. Grading blind, I call it, and I'm interested in what I'll find out.
  • I'm sure you've already heard it, but I'm going to keep more and longer office hours. I'm going to make sure my students know that I'm serious about being available. And it's not so bad, the office. I can read, grade, talk to colleagues. So, students, bring it on. I'm here and I'm waiting.
  • I bet you're not looking for this, but I'm going to quit caring so much about the little shits who don't care about my class. It won't make my class any better, I suppose, but it will sure make me happier.
  • I'm through with a 16 week, day by day schedule. I can't possibly know what we're going to need to do 10 Wednesdays from now, and I'm going to quit pretending. Students, you'll know when I know!
  • I'm going to quit worrying about whether or not my students like me. I didn't get into this profession to be popular or to get a bunch of friends. I do this job because I think it's important young people learn how to debate and be a part of the world's conversation. When I assign tasks based on how "happy" or "unhappy" my students are going to be with me, I waste everyone's time.
  • I'm going to toughen up.
  • I want to go easier on my students.
  • I need to work harder in the classroom.
  • I'm tired of spending my whole life on campus; I'm paying attention to my OWN life for a while.
  • I'm going to grade a little easier for my freshmen.
  • I'm going to grade harder for everyone!
  • I'm going to go on the job market.
  • I want to quit waiting for my real career to start, and do a good job right now.