Sunday, January 7, 2007

A Reply to Carl from Cleveland, Who Now Probably Doesn't Feel Quite as Clever

Dear Clever Carl,

Your attitude is as bad as that of some of the students. So teaching for you is just a paycheck, huh? Whatever happened to the idea of a vocation to teach? How about trying to instill in our students a love for learning? Okay, you aced a 1 credit course by just taking the final exam. I'm so happy for you. And you're not the hypocrite, so you won't have an attendance policy. Kudos! You have mastered the materialist mentality of education. Students are paying for their degree, and as long as they jump through the hoops, they'll get one. Why not just hand them the paper after they give the institution $100,000? After all, it's not our job to teach people, is it? We can just give our lectures and presentations to brick walls?

I thought teaching was much more than conveying knowledge. I thought the process was to help develop minds, guide them in their discovery of selves, help them see life through a thousand other people before they start living their own. I thought education was more than just the book knowledge, excuse me - for you - Internet knowledge. I thought it was developing a relationship with the student so that they can mature into educated adults, discover who they really want to be and find the passion within them that, when sparked, will be used to make this world a better place.

Your attitude conveyed in your post disgusted me. "It was the very least you could do for your students," you would probably say. And you always believe in doing the very least. Sorry, I will take attendance. I will demand presence. I will work to engage them because they need that. The college student is not a finished product. None of us are. You may take the road of least resistance. (You probably never even read your own students' writings!) I'll earn my title, my respect and my vocation as a teacher.