Sunday, May 17, 2015

A top ten from Beaker Ben

Sure, I want my students to get smarter when they take my class but there is a limit to what I'm willing to teach them.  If a lesson earns me an appointment with the provost, then that's something the students will have to learn on their own.

Top Ten Things that I Don't Tell My Students 

10.  I don't care if you sit in the back of the room and watch movies. I only teach to the first three rows of students.

9.  I don't even bother learning your names.

8.  My school is not worth the price of tuition.

7.  I will not care more about your education than you do.

6.  If you complain enough to the dean, you will eventually get what you want.

5.  Lots of our PhDs get shitty jobs.

4.  We admit some students just for the money. You'll know who you are by the end of the semester.

3.  I can't understand what the foreign faculty say either.

2  Your TAs can be bribed.

1.  I post positive reviews of other faculty on RMP so you won't over-enroll in my classes.


  1. Great list, Ben. Thanks for posting.

  2. #6, Ben. Because it's true and because more and more students are learning it!

  3. I try to learn their names, I really do. But I end every semester unsure of a few. Student behavior plays some role in who ends up on the "uncertain" list (spotty attendance and/or a knack for coming late, leaving early, and generally evading direct interaction with me definitely ups the likelihood) as does chance (when you're one of the 5 blond guys who usually wear a baseball cap, or the other 5 black-haired/brown-skinned guys with full beards -- did anybody else have a proliferation of beards this semester? -- in the same class, I'm going to struggle, especially if 1/3 of the class decides either to shave for the first time in 2 months or to grow a beard over spring break). I will redouble my efforts in the fall (at least for my face to face students; one of the advantages of online teaching is that you're not expected to connect faces and names), if only because, as a friend who teaches at another school points out, it does help with classroom management.

    As far as I know, #2 is not true at our school. But I could be wrong/naive.

  4. A 13 year old girl in Hiram's post is now twerking right above my head on the CM main page. I really feel uncomfortable about this visual arrangement.

    1. I wonder how she'd feel about it?

    2. I hope it would scare her straight.

  5. Something I never tell my students, until it becomes necessary:

    You know when you tell me that you submitted your paper on the LMS, and there must have been some problem with the server? I can go into the Logs and see that you haven't even logged in to the class website for the last three weeks, let alone actually submitted any work.

  6. A Fast Five inspired by the Top Ten:

    6 & 4. We admit some students just because some bigwig made a phone call, and we want their money. You'll know if you're one of those students by the end of your first midterms. Oh wait, you already know, you self-assured fuck.

    9. A lot of us know your name. We don't go out of our way to spread it, but neither do we hold back if it comes up.

    10 & 7. We care more about your education than you do because Bigwig's generosity is on an installment plan. Another Diagnostic Educational Review Panel session with you, Bigwig's Pet? Sure. Thank you, may I have another?

    8. My ire over all this is not worth the cost of unemployment. True meritocracies are still a pipe dream.

    2. I have never bribed, solicited, or even asked the students, much less the TAs, to show me their bare feet. So why the fuck are bare feet all over the desks and chairs in my classroom?


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