Friday, December 3, 2010

It Is I, Yaro, As The Term Expires.

My young charges are fleeing the building even as I type these words to you, my "miserable" colleagues.

I have before me on my desk a stack of blue books that nearly reaches to the sky. I know I must read them, and I know I must come down on the pass/fail axis for many of the young people who took this particular journey with me in the Fall of 2010.

But before I do that, before I take up the reins of responsible horsemanship and assessment, I must say the following (I hope you will permit me a brief, unfocused list of items):

  • My students surprise me every term, and of course what I mean to say, is they surprise me in good and bad ways. I have been dismayed again with a sort of indolence in the face of challenge. But they surprise me, too, when I see sparks of what their minds will be, that is, once we've finished the buffing process here at the institution.
  • My students can be ignited, can be "turned on" like a motor. But it takes a variety of tools and my adaptability to encourage students this term has been tested in ways which it has not for many years - thanks to the aforementioned general studies butterflies.
  • My students, at the close of the term, worked like yeomen on the final projects. Of course, I could examine this activity and dismiss it as being driven by panic about their final marks, but I will take whatever diligence I can find. Their last few days in class were their best, almost to a person, and I, Yaro, was touched by their attention in the waning moments of this endeavour.
  • I teach in a place where my colleagues often feel disenfranchised from the administration. We collect in small groups near a coffee machine or a vending kiosk and wonder why we're not heard. One young woman - someone I mentor - came to visit my class one day last week, and afterwards, while we took a splendid walk through the newest building on our campus to retrieve a book which she wished to loan me, she said: "Yaro, do you wonder, at times, about the administrators here? Do you imagine they remember their own passages in our classrooms? Do you think, perhaps I'm being too bold here, that we might draft one or two each term to visit a room, much as I have today, to witness our struggles, our small victories? Would it be, and again, perhaps I'm simply naive about these matters, would it be possible to open a new dialogue with the powers that be by saying, 'Here is what we are; here is what we face. Now, will you hear our cries with somewhat more understanding?'" Of course I told this young woman - who is truly a wonderful addition to our cohort - that I thought she was not naive at all, and that if naivete was a sin, then let me sin with her.
  • I am grateful for the forum masters of College Misery, for I have learned much from so many of you since these pages opened late in the summer. What a delightful and varied group. What an explosion of energy and excitements. I am humbled to codger alongside you in so many of these fine discussions. If I, Yaro, was perhaps a bit blue as the semester began, my visits to this weblog have never failed to give me pause, or at least, and perhaps this is the great compliment - mirth.

Be well, all of you who are still plying the educational process in our year's closing fortnights. I, for one, will loosen my belt, pour another blast of steaming water into my cup, and take to this stack of final exams. I cannot wait to see what my young friends have written in closing, and once the new year bounds into our vision, I will come at the duty with some renewed vigor and energy. And I owe a portion of that to these pages, and the fine people among you who I truly think of as my colleagues.

With my affection,


  1. If there was a legitimate cyberhug I could send Prof. Yaro...I would do it...

    Love love our Yaro.

    [[[{{{ Y A R O }}}]]]

  2. Yaro's posts remind me of old sports and news broadcasts, from a day when the announcers used complex sentences college-level vocabulary. Refreshing!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Yaro!

  3. What I love about Yaro is his refusal of the too-easy mode of cynicism, his stylized enthusiasm. My guess is that his posts would not have been published on RYS, and thus I am grateful for CM.

  4. Thanks for the update, Yaro, and best wishes with your blue-book reading. I notice that, along with its green quad, your institution boasts a calendar which allows you to finish grading well before Christmas -- a nice feature. Maybe it goes some way toward making up for the administrators.

  5. Yaro has it down: students are snowflake douchebags. Except his.

    I think we all feel this way from time to time. But Yaro makes it so classy. A rowdy "Hear, hear!" to the last bullet point.

  6. "...then let me sin with her."

    Let us all sin with her.

  7. "[All] students are snowflake douchebags. Except [ours]."

    I think this ought to be the unofficial -- or perhaps official -- motto of CM. And it loses nothing by the parallel to what voters typically think of their elected representatives.

  8. It doesn't matter what my day is like - and today has been a bear - when I see Yaro's big head at the top of CM, I smile, and I keep smiling most of the day.

    Thanks, whoever you are, you mad genius!

  9. I love your narrative voice, Yaro. Godspeed through the grading and have a fantastic, restful break!

  10. Yaro, I want more colleagues like you. You truly are a bright spot in this otherwise dull day.

  11. "finished the buffing process here at this institution"

    You, Yaro, have produced many a turn of phrase that cheers me as I grade my own blue books. A very merry Solstikwanyule to you and yours.

  12. I also like "codger" as a verb. And the idea that the term is now proceeding by fortnights (since my weekends, at least, seem to have disappeared).


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