The Random (Post-Modern???) Thoughts on Education Thread

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by uclacarlos, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. TheLostUniversity

    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Feb 4, 2007
    Greater Boston
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Bruins fans.... and Bruins players :D
     
  2. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well,then why aren't Bruins fans and players kept sedated-I'm sorry have their pscychiatic diagnoses treated ?

    I'm not referring to self-maication.
     
  3. Michael K.

    Michael K. Member

    Mar 3, 1999
    There or Thereabouts
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    2 things a 5-2 teaching courseload is not compatible with:

    Seeing, much less thinking about, MUCH less writing a word in that, what did I call that thing? Dissertation? Yeah, disseration. I remember something about that.

    Having anything like a normal life or frame of mind during grading season. I have another 55 papers or so, which I hope to finish in a splendid burst today (hopeful!) or maybe tomorrow. That'll be the first course done.

    Send prayers.
     
    2 people repped this.
  4. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    I just came on here to express joy that I'm now done.

    Many prayers!

    I hope you have been remunerated accordingly. You should then take that money and give yourself a fellowship (lighter teaching load in the summer or fall). It's amazing how that helps productivity.

    If you are dissertating, you should NEVER take on 5 college classes. There's a reason why college profs have less contact hours than high school teachers!
     
  5. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That was supposed to be self-medication.Which I wasn't doing when I typed that.
     
  6. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    In my students' evals, when they say "Never returns my emails" GOD DAMN I wish I could insert "after I missed yet another class and instead of asking a fellow student what we discussed in class, I bugged my professor w/ an email at 11 pm the night before the next lecture and his office hours."

    Or, "But I do appreciate the fact that he took time before/after class to answer my question thoroughly w/in 24 hours of the question being posed."

    So few of my students take advantage of in-person office hours, instead going virtual. But I'm so irritated by this comment, considering the sheer volume of students ill this fall and the overwhelming number of "what did we go over in class yesterday" emails. :mad:
     
  7. Michael K.

    Michael K. Member

    Mar 3, 1999
    There or Thereabouts
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks for those thoughts and prayers ;)

    Coming up for air after posting nearly all the grades from one of my courses (I teach 3 sections of that course, and 2 of another). I can see the pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel.

    RE: your advice above - get ready to want to hit me.
    What's that rule they have in the military - NEVER, EVER volunteer for anything? Well, the sad fact of the matter is, I was hired to teach a 4:2 this year and I volunteered to take on the fifth course.

    There goes any respect for my intelligence anyone might have had, right?

    Here's what happened; a couple days before the semester, one of the other profs flaked out and told the dept he wasn't going to be here this year. Dept chair put out a desperate call to any and all, hoping to find a couple people interested in doing an overload course to pick up the slack. Deep in the glow of a late summer vacation, and lured by an extra few bucks, I put my hat in the ring.

    I rationalized it a couple ways: the 5th class (the second of the two sections mentioned above) fit beautifully into my schedule; looking like a "team player" certainly wouldn't hurt my standing, and oh yes, the overload money. I thought the teaching part wouldn't be that bad, and it wasn't, though of course it took up my time), and knew that the end of semester grading was going to be a bitch. Was I ever right about that.

    So I have no right to complain, having brought this on myself. The paid-off credit cards and new skis have me thinking it was worth it after all. Going back to a more human four course load in the spring (three sections of the same thing I taught in the fall, one a special seminar built around my dissertation topic) looks like a breeze.
     
  8. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    I thought you said you had a 4-2? Typically that means 4 classes one semester, 2 classes the next. So I guess at your institution it means 4 classes, 2 preps?

    Anything beyond 3 classes seriously inhibits research. I'm barely keeping afloat w/ a 3-3 b/c I've frankly blown off "going the extra mile" for the students and I'm polishing off grad school term papers and dissertation chapters.

    As far as "taking one for the team" and hoping to curry favor.... Sadly, it doesn't work.

    Human beings want to keep ppl around that owe them favors. Nobody wants to be reminded, "Dude. You owe me big time."

    So the way you need to re-contextualize the favor you did to the dept. is that when you see the chair after the winter break, in exchanging pleasantries you thank him/her for the favor they gave you (paid off credit card, etc.) and that you owe THEM a favor.

    It's sick. But it works, and not only in academia. [/learned the hard way]

    But if they ask you again, kindly decline the invitation. You need to dissertate. They'll understand.
     
  9. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    About to receive the proofs of my first peer-reviewed scholarly (non-graduate student journal) article!

    Yo yo yo, my article drops in late March. :D Got another article passed on to readers at a prestigious journal, so I'm feeling the scholarly luv right now.
     
  10. orng

    orng Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Club:
    Bayer 04 Leverkusen
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Here's a thought for you: spring break needs to be here now.
     
  11. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Soooo...

    My girlfriend threw her application out to a very prestigious institution of higher learning. Initially she had NO interest in taking the job if she were to get it (pain in the ass to move, nearly impossible to get tenure, tendency for these institutions to stultify creativity, etc.), but the job posting made it clear that they wanted cutting edge, innovative scholars.

    6 of the 10 candidates at the conference interview were disciples of or somehow affiliated with my girlfriend's adviser, who penned a seminal article that turned her sub-field on its head about 5 years ago and lead to this tenure track job posting.

    Aced the conference interview and was called on New Years day, and we know she was the only one who got a phone call as opposed to an email the following week. 3 of the campus invitees had this scholar on their dissertation committee and the other had studied w/ him as an undergraduate.

    My girl blew their socks off for the job talk. Had the 3 biggest guns in the dept. -- the only ones who are cutting edge, non-traditionalists -- fawning over her. Two of them told her that she was the top candidate and practically offered her the job.

    Search committee made their recommendation to the faculty, and pointed out that they were entrusted w/ finding a candidate who could breath life into the program.

    Faculty voted for the most traditional of the 4 candidates!

    We've been receiving emails from friends in the grad program there and they are/were shocked and disgusted at how the faculty just wimped out when their task was to go away from traditional scholarship.

    I'm in a state of shock. We don't "need" to move, but man... looking at the (unimpressive) faculty CV's online and seeing the amount of grants these guys get just b/c they come from an institution w/ massive weight... That was appealing. It would have been a great 5-7 year gig for her and there are plenty of places for me in the general vicinity.

    Oh well. It was great networking for her, and in the middle of the whole process, one of the big guns that loved her actually presented a paper at a local university and I was able to meet him and network. I informally pitched a project to him and he was really interested, so I'll follow up.

    But man. Talk about inertia. Kinda sad. And I'm so glad I chose not to go there for my PhD.
     
  12. Jacen McCullough

    Nov 23, 1998
    Maryland
    Another one of my lesson plans was the Folger featured plan for February:

    http://www.folger.edu/eduLesPlanDtl.cfm?lpid=879

    And they posted my installment of the "Teacher to Teacher" video series (if you ever wanted to place a face with the fake user name):

    http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=3749


    Once I get more time (ie- after this semester), I'll be guest blogging on the Folger blog as well.

    http://folgereducation.wordpress.com/


    For anyone who is really into teaching Shakespeare, the next Teaching Shakespeare Institute will be offered in the summer of 2012. I HIGHLY recommend it. Those 4 weeks completely changed my professional life, and the folks at the Folger have become more like an extended nerdy family.
     
  13. Rainer24

    Rainer24 Member

    Jan 6, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    Club:
    VfB Stuttgart
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    It is amazing how often this sort of thing happens. The bureaucrats want people to teach the dumbed down crap that undergrads are demanding these days, so that's who they are going for. Honestly, these kids spend most of their time in class now surfing the web, so I am less and less concerned with what they want. Sometimes you have to make a baby take his medicine because it is good for him, even if he does not want it. Sorry this instance happened to end with you guys getting the shaft.
     
  14. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Speaking of bureaucrats and dumbed-down crap...

    Here's a HuffPo column on the stupidity of making public universities glorified job-training centers:

    In terms of higher education, American policymakers must focus not just on educating people, but on educating people for specific jobs, so says the National Governors Association. Wow, that's shortsighted.

    . . .

    No, don't. Just give up on this little idea. It sounds practical but it's actually misguided and impossible. Train college students to think, train them to dream, and make them to work hard. The jobs will follow. They always do.

    ....

    the solution to this is to improve vocational schools so that they appropriately train people for existing jobs. The solution is not to turn American universities into vocational schools. Colleges and universities, frankly, should ignore jobs.

    This is especially true of the jobs of "the future." The danger of the lure of vocational universities is not necessarily that such a focus will draw resources and attention away from the liberal arts and the hard sciences (disturbing as that is); the trouble is that focusing on the jobs of the future won't work. The report says that America's governors should "encourage -- even incentivize -- institutions of higher education to seek state and regional employers' input about how best to ensure that students have the 21st century skills employers need." The real problem is that governors will screw this up if they try to do this seriously.

    That's because we really have no idea what jobs will exist in the next 20 or 30 years. Just imagine what would have happened if governors in 1980 "worked to ensure that students have the skills employers of 2010 would need." How would they know? Goals like this are impossible to achieve.

    Remember those computer programmers who were so glamorous in the early 1980s? They didn't major in computer science when they were in college. They were mostly philosophy majors who were particularly good at formal logic. That's how this stuff works. Educated people create jobs; they hire other smart people to perform them.

    Read the NGA report here but trying to make an academic education directly about specific job skills is pretty much impossible. Train students to think critically. It turns out that's the talent companies that hire for professional jobs want most anyway. Trying to do anything else with American colleges is a waste of time.​

     
  15. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In the right's view,the public education system at all levels exists as a social control and job training service.

    It's the same on the left,except more of the jobs being trained for are social service delivery jobs.

    In reality,teaching most people to think critically is a useless exercise.Just look at this board. :D
     
  16. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Irony is, the people in those vocational programs tend to think that they have a big advantage over an English or music major in the employment world, yet my company can't hire them because they're pretty much untrainable. So it hires the English and music majors instead.
     
  17. fischerw

    fischerw Member+

    Sep 15, 2004
    Joplin, MO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm a grad student in history, so, logically, I'm Facebook friends with most of the other grad students in my department. It has become tradition for my fellow graduate students, whenever bluebook- or essay-grading season comes around, to post select quotes on Facebook (name excised of course) that demonstrate undergraduate inanity or ignorance. I'll admit, it's often funny, in an exasperating sort of way. But I'm getting really sick of this general attitude among my colleagues; if you were to ask them, ALL of the undergraduates at this large, public university are complete morons, incapable of grasping anything we are trying to teach them. Seriously, I think the only time I EVER hear my fellow grad students discussing undergraduates, it's in the context of how stupid they are. Sadly, I'll admit that I've done my fair share of anecdote-sharing, and it hasn't been flattering to the undergraduates.

    The thing is, I know that this is a biased view. In my years as a TA, I've had many brilliant students. I've gotten plenty of essays or exam responses that are eloquent, detailed, and insightful; I couldn't hope to do any better myself. I have routinely learned much from my undergraduates through classroom discussion. These are the same undergraduates my colleagues are teaching. I fear that an unhealthy elitist mindset is developing among my colleagues; we pat each other on the back for being so much smarter than those 18-22 year olds we see in the classroom. It's gross.

    Sorry, I had to rant. Has anyone else encountered this phenomenon? Thoughts?
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    When I was an M.A. student in English at LSU, it was still an open admission university, which meant anyone whod graduated from a Louisiana high school could attend. The TA's were kept on a very short leash back then, which meant we taught the same assignments from the same textbook and had essays to grade at the same time. So every other Friday we'd gather at our respective offices in Tiger Stadium around 2 and start plowing through. Every hour we'd take a break and, like you guys, share the dumbest sentences that we found... and given the quality of Louisiana secondary education... well, anyway. Eventually, by around 8 or 9, we'd be done and we'd head over to The Bayou or The Library (bars on Chimes Street) and start the weekend.

    One day, I told me students that we did this. That I had in fact read some of their worst sentences aloud, and some of those sentences were laughed at. Needless to say, they were pissed. They couldn't believe we did such a thing (they had a point: it's not the height of professionalism, not to mention decency). However, I defended it by saying, "well, it's not like you guys never rip on us. Seriously, if anyone in here has never complained about a teacher, raise your hand?" No hands went up.

    What happened, though, was that the next Friday, instead of two or three things to read each hour, I had maybe two things the hole afternoon and evening. And it continued like that all semester. The writing actually got better when they realized the consequences. Some of my colleagues asked me how come I didn't have as many bad sentences and I told them. Most of them did the same thing before the last paper was due. We finished grading that batch around 6:30

    I really don't know if I'd do that again, or if it would work anywhere else. I would never have done that at the place where I worked on my Ph.D. because most of the problematic and funny mistakes were due to ESL issues and not laziness or bad primary and secondary education. But, yes, I have encountered that phenomenon.
     
  19. Eskimo Joe

    Eskimo Joe Member

    May 24, 2010
    Glad you're not my English teacher. ;)

    Juuuuust giving you a hard time. :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    No: those afternoons and evenings were in fact holes.
     
  21. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My main thought: you'll be one of the good ones on your faculty, once you get to that point. And if you're on the job market when something comes up at my university, this alone would prompt me to put in a good work for you.
     
    1 person likes this.
  22. YankBastard

    YankBastard Na Na Na Na NANANANAAA!

    Jun 18, 2005
    Estados Unidos
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  23. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A funny site,and though I have argued against the r-word in the past,I don't have a huge problem with an entire country hooked on Jersey Shore being called RFD (Real Fvkciiing Dumb).

    However ,the site touting DCA as a cancer cure?That's RFD,too.
     
  24. YankBastard

    YankBastard Na Na Na Na NANANANAAA!

    Jun 18, 2005
    Estados Unidos
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  25. fischerw

    fischerw Member+

    Sep 15, 2004
    Joplin, MO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

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