Sunday, January 17, 2010

That Cookie Thing May One Day Be Seen As Our Defining Issue. Some Flava From the RYS Mailbag.

There's been a steady stream of "cookie" emails. Here are some short notes, and then on Monday we have some longer pieces we'll post.

  • When will you all realize that bringing donuts or candy or baked goods to class isn't just about the students? It's my version of bringing a flask to class--they aren't the only ones who get to eat the stuff. I tend to bring snacks to class when I've had a particularly bad week, and I've baked something sugary and fattening to destress. The class that was the one bright spot in the dismal mess--or contributed the least to the badness--gets a treat, and I get someone to help me eat a tray of brownies so I don't end up eating them all myself.

  • While I was teaching, not bringing munchies to class could have resulted in disciplinary action for not creating a "safe" learning environment. On the other hand, when I started on my first master's degree 30 years ago, the only way the department could get the grad students to attend the weekly seminars was to bribe them with food. If it didn't, we would have stayed away in droves because most of the sessions were brain-numbingly dull.

  • I didn't think I'd do this, but the first time the debate went around, for some reason, it made me LESS self conscious. I bring my HS students juice every test day. I bring my college kids juice for the final because I figure after they've already done their evals, it can't look that suspicious. I'd bring in coffee for the college kids, but I'm too cheap.

  • I love bringing little baked treats to my students. I have a really powerful relationship with my students, and since I'm great in the kitchen, I like to share that special part of myself with my students.

  • I don't know how anyone can not see the bringing of food or "treats" to college students as anything other than pandering. How desperate and lonely are these people?

  • I'm a senior at a big football school in the Pac-10. I've had a couple of professors bring brownies to our class. They were the worst instructors I ever had, and all they were doing was trying to soften us up for evaluations. It didn't work. I ate 2 brownies each day and slammed them anyway. How'd that work out?

  • Maybe I'm missing some pedagogical implication, but I don't see anything in the bringing of cookies to class that has anything to do with the teaching of said class. There's the distinct stench of desperation in the act, and those who don't see it must be a little cockeyed.

  • I think one of your earlier posts said it all about those who bring cookies: I would bet you're not liked very much by your students. That's a shame, because the relationship between teacher and student can be so rewarding. My students call me "Mom." We get along and we do great work together. I have the very highest standards, just as if they were my own children, and even though people in my own department jealously make fun of me, my students are behind me and support our shared learning environment. Maybe you like to be an unfeeling information conduit, but many of us TEACH in the classroom, and make lifelong relationships with the most treasured people we'll ever meet - OUR STUDENTS.

  • Sometimes a cookie is just a cookie.