Monday, March 2, 2015

Alice the Adjunct Says: I'm Rethinking Student Shaming.

Alice sent in this flava and link apropos the discussions over the weekend.

from The Tattooed Prof:

A few years ago, trapped in the midst of final exam grading, I started posting some of the real howlers I got as answers on Facebook. I didn’t use students’ names, and I don’t “friend” students on FB, so this sort of venting seemed like an OK way for me to keep my sense of humor during the end-term crush.

I have felt guilty about doing that ever since.

Now, I vent plenty on Facebook and (especially) Twitter. PLENTY. But I deploy my snark laterally, or upwards–not down. Not any more. If I am the advocate for teaching and learning that I say I am, then I need to walk the walk. If I argue that failure is not a defeat, but something on which to build successes, then how can I use others’ failures as fodder for cheap laughs?



  1. This is attracting more attention than it deserves. Any student who stumbles upon the Dear Student letters at CV should feel a little uncomfortable if they apply to him or her. No student should be shocked that a professor gets upset about plagiarism, BS excuses, or not following directions. I fact, it counteracts the claim that the professor doesn't care about the students. I care enough about my students' education that I get pissed off when they screw up.

    Now, perhaps the student has a good excuse/rationalization for the behavior. Fine. Then that letter doesn't apply. It's not as if only one student ever did something wrong.

    Beyond insulting students to their face (or providing details that identifies them) or letting a rant affect the quality of how you actually perform your job, I fail to see the problem of "student shaming."

    1. After rereading this, I want to clarify that this issue is attracting more attention than it deserves. Tattooed Prof's post was one of the better posts against student smackdown, though I disagree with it. He derserves more attention for writing good stuff like

    2. You're right, Ben. That article about failure, and what can be learnt from it, is spot on.

  2. My favorite part of these articles is that no one bothers to pull tweets from students trumpeting their utter lack of effort, and their lack of respect for their educational process--much less the horrifying shit they tweet about their profs.

    They don't even bother to do it anonymously. Hey Ben, might be time to pull some good tweets.

  3. "Dear Student" and smackdows here are about bad student *behavior*, when students are acting entitled, flaky, or otherwise failing to treat faculty like basic human beings and to perform the basic tasks they need to get the education they are paying for.

    I make a distinction between that and mocking students' howlers online. Am I the only one who has social media contacts who aren't in my field? How do they feel if I post "lol lol, look what this student wrote, so dumb" and they're thinking, "I wouldn't know how to answer that question." THAT is what makes proffies look elitist and makes people not want to talk to us at parties.

    1. I'd posted a small number of student boo-boos on Facebook and most of my friends there are not proffies. Part of me hopes my younger family members who are college students will take them as lessons of what NOT to do.

      I should note that I have my privacy set so no one who is not on my "Friends" list can see what I posted.