Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Dear Becca..."

  • Becca's claim about the editors of this page proofreading everything shows she doesn't pay much attention. The moderators are likely too besotted after margarita orgies to do anything but cut and paste our ramblings and put them online. If you're looking for our professional writing, Becca, why not pick up a scholarly journal or one of our books?

  • When swotty snowflakes write lengthy posts criticizing barely noticeable typos, professorial attitudes, and the scheduling of exams and papers without reference to the fucking "partying weekends" (we're such meanies!), then I just remember that if their professional future is in academia, they will either learn the error of their ways or else be hated by all their colleagues. Really, either is fine with me.

  • Becca closes her post from yesterday by dropping some knowledge on us. Apparently we are all committing the "fundamental attribution error" and maligning the students' "permanent selves." Not their permanent selves!! I imagine Becca would be mighty surprised to discover how little time we spend thinking about their "permanent selves." In fact, in this post-humanist world, I imagine very few of us even believe in something like a permanent self. But that's the subject for a different post. We are not frustrated with rude and entitled behavior because we give a shit about anyone's permanent self. We are frustrated by rude and entitled behavior because it's annoying. And time-wasting. Every time some little darling emails me at 3 am asking if I can give him some feedback for an essay that's due at 11am, I guarantee I don't think one damn thing about his permanent self. I think, "Well that's just great. When I don't answer he's going to sulk for a week, sucking all the life out of the seminar." When I give someone a C, I am not thinking one damn thing about her permanent self. I am evaluating her work.

  • We are bitching to each other. No one's asking Becca to do anything about it.

  • I wish I taught at Becca's school where the administration is apparently planning rock and roll ("partying") weekends where they spend "hundreds of thousands of dollars" bringing in bands. I would be there rocking out. Of course that college sounds like it's in fantasyland, but no matter. The last band our college brought in was two guys with acoustic guitars. And neither was named Sting or Bono.

  • The students that writers on this blog are complaining about are in some way pathological. Perhaps they are disrespectful, perhaps they cheat, which is unfair to all the students who play by the rules. Some of them might not turn in their work, or turn in such shoddy work that it is clear that they don't care about the class. Students of that sort used to be rare in college, as students were both selected and self-selected for academic seriousness. With ever-increasing enrollments and some politicians' goal of universal college education, greater numbers of marginal, unmotivated students are being swept into the system and making life more difficult for professors.

  • Becca's post made me just let out a long sigh. I don't even pretend to understand this: "I am an undergraduate, and I wanted to point out a few things I have noticed while perusing the site." So what? Why would I give a shit? Why on earth did RYS even post this junk?

  • You are most certainly not qualified to judge me as a professor. Let’s be perfectly clear about that. You never were. You use the phrase “to facilitate my learning.” Where, exactly, did you get this? Who poured this poison into your ears? You might be in a position to judge my performance as a “facilitator,” but not as a professor. Get off your horse. Again, when you join our ranks, you will know exactly what this means. And, yes, other professors are more qualified than you to judge professors.

  • Becca claims that there are "frequent" errors on this blog, and I have to say she's just flat out wrong. I wish she'd pointed some out, in fact. The truth is, as someone who reads the site every day, and has for months, I "rarely" see a typo, and it's often inconsequential. When I have typos in a student paper - and I don't know why I have to even qualify this - I might see 9 misspelled words in a single paragraph. That's frequent, honey. Plus, this is a blog for profs to let off steam. It's nothing at all like a paper you or we would be evaluated on.

  • While you make some good points about being a college student, and how you are superior because you are a student at "a rather selective school where the students are more concerned with their school work than most." (And btw, I teach at a school that is supposedly selective. I know that really means "grade grubbing.") But I digress. The one fact that you neglected to consider is that we have all been college students, and you have never been a college professor. So stop pretending that you have some great insight into our lives, work, and effort we put into our jobs, because you have no clue.

  • Hey Becca. I'm sure that it escaped your self-professed, more than capable attention, but this site is not all about you.

  • With regard to paragraph one of Becca's post, there is a remarkably simple explanation for why you see grammar and spelling errors in some of the posts. Reading papers written by undergraduates (particularly “freshpeople”), makes you stupid. In paragraph five, you mention joining our ranks. When you do, you will know exactly what this means. There is help for us, however. It is called phosphatidylserine. Buy it in bulk.

  • There are Beccas everywhere, of course. My own "Becca" was Rachel, someone whose parents had so filled with entitlement that she came to my office frequently to "help" me by giving me her impressions of how class had gone. That I was 10 years into a teaching career, and 20 years into "college life" apparently escaped her. Becca, honey, we don't want your insight. Go suck an egg.