Sunday, October 31, 2010

This makes no sense to me

My fellow administrators have finally done what years of student nonsense could not: I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I don't want to try anymore. I don't think I have a single good reason to even bother, except that my students don't deserve being deserted. I'm already on the job market and I'm not entirely sure what I'll do if I don't get a different job next year.

Basically, during a faculty meeting another admin (not the same instructor that I wrote of before) stands up and says, loudly, that she didn't even bother reading her students' papers. She just looked through them, the running head was wrong, and so she failed them all.

Maybe people thought she was kidding (I'm in a position to know that she was, of course, not kidding at all). In any case, she was applauded for not grade inflating and for giving students what they need--failure.

Then this conversation somehow morphed around into us needing to fire more teachers. Indeed, it seems (and I really hope that I got this wrong, but I don't think I did) that all we really want are adjuncts that can follow the rules. We are to fire good teachers, because it doesn't matter if they are good teachers, if they don't follow the rules.

I .... feel ill. Quite honestly I've spent the time since this meeting wondering exactly when this institution went insane. I know it wasn't like this when I got hired (or else I would have been fired many many many times over). It suddenly makes sense why I haven't been able to get rid of the english teacher that isn't doing her job--she follows the rules of course! She's always in dress code.

We've all worked extremely hard to make this place awesome, but it really only takes a few bad teachers to erase all that. Why is this something that the upper administration can't see? In some ways I realize that that's a naive statement on my part--I strongly suspect that this attitude is more common than I'd ever care to know. On the other hand, in the past year there has been a major ideological shift that I can't trace back to its origins. In the meantime....I can just sort of feel unwell.


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  2. If it's any consolation, I think it's likely that applause will be short-lived. If her students are anything like mine, there will be a hue and cry about being treated so unfairly, soon. The higher-ups who will have to handle this won't be able to look away, and they won't like it. On the other hand, voting with one's feet (to mix a metaphor) from a place that had apparently gone nuts sure did work for me.

  3. @ My Little Proffie

    The upper admin will never understand, so you must lock them in the admin building, then blow it up, being careful to machine gun any fleeing survivors.


  4. Hrm my office is in the admin building. I'd rather not blow up my books. (Yes, priorities. Oh well.)

    As best as I can tell, there will be no fallout from student complaints. We've been given the "no grade inflation!" lecture this term, and anybody that is failing a student for ANY reason is being applauded. Students complaining? Good!

    I don't have any problem with students failing that deserve to fail, that have screwed up, or who simply don't have the natural ability. On the other hand, randomly failing students isn't cool.

    Because our students come from low income neighborhoods, many of them have been pretty mistreated by schools as it is. They're like anti-snowflakes. They literally think they deserve to do badly and many will NEVER complain because of this. The teacher is always right. It makes my classroom a really nice place to be (for me!) but it makes these other people's classrooms a really cruddy place to be (for them!)

  5. The No Grade Inflation Lecture always gets me pumped. Until I find out it is a ruse and the chair would really be able to enjoy his afternoons if we stopped failing failures or punishing cheaters and plagiarists.

  6. I had a chair once - eons ago - who used to say to us: "Teach your own class. Do what you think is right. I'll back you."

    I thought that was normal.

    Of course, that was the only decent chair I ever had.

  7. The problem with the grade inflation lecture here, as best as I can tell, is that instructors are doing one of two things:

    1. Carrying on as normal, because our class grade curves didn't look all that badly to begin with (complaining that 40% of a math class gets an A, when the tests are standardized and taken without the teacher present, begs "good teacher" rather than grade inflation, for example)


    2. Crappy teacher decides they no longer have to do much of anything, and throw around F's in much the fashion they were previously throwing around A's.

    As someone who teaches their class above "level" and is glad to hand anybody that works up to that and beyond an A, neither solution much works for me. If my teachers are giving too many A's I tell 'em to make their classes harder (or if they feel bad for the kids cause the class is too hard, and it really IS too hard, I tell them to back off). One way or the other, problem solved.


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