Sunday, August 3, 2008

Brick From Buffalo Wants a Snowflake Spotting Guide, Genuses, Families, Species, That Whole Thing.

This summer, I had a realization that of all the snowflakes we see in our classrooms, the pre-med snowflake is probably the most obnoxious. This kid has yet to hand in an assignment that doesn't come equipped with sycophantic hand delivery, neurotic emails, and appeals for a higher grade. Even if it's a 90--an A--he wants a 92, 94, or 96, so he can cut back on working in my class when the finals of his "real" classes come around, and he can skate on a B or C for my classwork. And each time he swaggers up to my desk or sends an email (with return-receipt flagged--because he's just that important!), I think back to RYS.

We all love to talk and write about our snowflakes, but after six years of teaching college composition, I've started to realize that there are different kinds of snowflakes. Think about snowfall--the collected mass of snowflakes. There is dry, powdery snow, and there is wet, mushy snow. There's yellow snow and grey snow. Likewise, there are different snowflakes. A greek and a pre-med are both snowflakes, yet each is snowflakey for different reasons.

As we gear up for the 08-09 academic year, hundreds of new faculty, TA's, and adjuncts will be joining our ranks here in the compound. Just like zoos sell spotting guides, to allow visitors to identify animals, I propose that RYS solicit and publish a series for the year--a snowflake spotting guide as a way to help these new faculty members settle in to their teaching positions. Remember the Care Bears--that mid 80's attempt to teach children empathy using themed (and highly commercialized) plush animals to symbolize a single emotion? Think of this project as a set of Care Bears to better help new faculty truly understand the super-special-importantness of Gen Y.