Q: Do you care more about my education than I do?A: Apparently.(although "not any more" would be a good one).Q: Do you grade on a curve?A: Only if someone else is driving.
Q: Can I get any extra credit?A: If by "extra" you mean "more than you had before", then yes, you can. See earlier answer about the time machine. If you mean "extra" in the sense of "more opportunities than afforded to the rest of the class", then, no.
It'd be great if we all took photos of the shit left behind on boards in our classrooms. I often wish I had a camera with me or my phone because I have one nutcase ahead of one of my classes who leaves up the sort of "I love my students because they stapled" comments that makes me think I'm living in the wrong world.
I want this to happen. Can we make this happen? Come on, CM, let's make this happen!
Many years ago, when I taught Western Civ, I had a section immediately following the section of a colleague who rarely got around to erasing the board. About two thirds of the way through the "to 1500" semester, I'm doing the Fall of Rome, and I walk in to see that my colleague has left on the board.... the twelve tribes of Israel. A student of mine looked at it, looked at me, and asked "How come we're farther ahead than they are?" Took every ounce of professionalism I had at that point to say something like "different people emphasize different aspects of the history" instead of "unlike some people, I cover the material" Unfortunately, cell phones with cameras didn't exist yet, and without context it wouldn't have meant much anyway. But it's my best "left on the board" story.
We'd have to send them to the RGM, to avoid outing ourselves. Or -- more fun -- we could send them to each other (or to the RGM to send to each other, or to post in others' names, with their permission, of course), the better to confuse things ("I always thought Cassandra might be my terrible Eeyore-ish colleague who says cynical things in response to all my good ideas*, but now Monkey has posted a copy of the notes I wrote on the bulletin board, and I thought Monkey taught in an entirely different part of the country! I'm confused!"). *Note: this is merely by way of illustration. In real life, I am mostly silent in response to pedagogical ideas that strike me as overly-optimistic. And besides, why does my Tigger-ish colleague keep reading here, if (s)he thinks we all have such bad attitudes?
I also think excellent images from online should be fair game. After posting this one last night, I came across another in a friend's blog. There are some great proffie fails out there and it would help to obscure those of us who might be outed by posting too many of our colleagues "excellent" work.
Q: Can I turn my work in late?A: Yes, you can. You won't receive the same number of points as timely submissions, and if you submit after the term ends that number will be zero. But you can do whatever you like.Q: Can my mom come to class with me when she comes to visit?A: Goddammit, Archie, I already told you to give you mom a pass to the campus museum.
Q: Can I take the test on a later date? I'm not prepared.A: I automatically drop your worst exam so you are welcome to skip this one, but you can only gain by doing your best on it.(I actually got that question 5 minutes before the first exam I gave the semester I started full time teaching. I gaped at the student for several long seconds while I tried to convince myself he hadn't asked that. On the other hand he was right: he wasn't prepared for the exam. So at least there was some correct self-assessment going on there.)
My first thought: this person has tenure (and is using it well, or at least in one good way). My second thought: the New Yorker (or some other reputable publication) needs to publish a similar list, so that we can all put it up on our office doors (or at least so that the dwindling number of us who have office doors can post it there). I can't tell how many copies of Tom Wayman's poem "Did I miss anything?" (which I remember as being copied or torn out from The New Yorker, but I might be wrong about that) I've seen posted outside or in faculty offices. Then again, both customs and power dynamics have shifted considerably in the last few decades, and I'm not sure whether a similarly satirical "How Can I Improve My Grade?" poem would be so widely posted where students could see it (though it would still undoubtedly be enjoyed by teachers). On the other hand, both the existence and the popularity of Wayman's poem suggests that we members of the CM community are hardly alone in our approach to surviving a college teaching career (in the interview linked above, Wayman says: "My poem is a compilation of all the answers I wanted to give to students who asked the question during one semester when I was teaching at a community college in a Vancouver, B.C. suburb. I never actually gave these answers, but I sure thought them." Sounds familiar. The questions asked of Wayman, and those that appear on google, also suggest that some people are actually now teaching the poem -- an interesting approach. Maybe we'll be canonical one of these days, grist for a study of faculty angst in the waning days of tenure, or one of the conference-panel subjects we came up with last week).
Not quite as topical or pithy as Prof. Wayman's work, but I can't resist the chance to point at Tony Ballantyne's "If Only ..." published in Nature and an inspiration to science teachers everywhere.
Thanks Pumpkin. I hadn't seen that one.
Although it being published in the "ENCODE" issue might be a tad ironic.
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