Monday, October 19, 2015

Dear New Ed.D.

Hello. Yes, nice to meet you. So, you were just hired by our ever-expanding Office of Teaching Methodology.

Look, kid, no offense, but I've got about 4,000 hours of classroom experience built up over 30+ years. I'm not fond of a 29 year old with more hours learning theory than actual classroom time telling me I'm doing my job wrong.  My classes fill up as soon as the registration system opens, I get great evals, and the average grade in my class is lower than they'd get in my colleagues' classes so they're not coming to me because I'm easy.  They come to my classes because they can see I work my ass off to make the material understandable, relevant, and interesting.  So take what you think worked that time you spent a day teaching ten-year olds in a controlled setting and let me get on with my job.

You want to help me teach? Replace these damn broken desks. Maybe fix the A/C in here so I can't use my classroom as a real-life example of what a Lower East Side tenement or the hold of a coffin ship full of Irish immigrants felt like in July. Maybe teach the students how to take notes or how to read a book----actually READ it and not skim it. Let me be blunt, your salary could be better used to pay another instructor so we could have more reasonable class sizes. Or at least we could pay an adjunct a livable wage. Right now you're just another layer between me and my students, and I really, really don't like anything that gets in the way of me teaching. And you're in the way.


  1. Ahem.

    I've met several of those types here at Ambitious State. The problem here is that they go on to positions higher up, and their replacements then run the same workshops in which they give the same advice.

  2. Gah , I bet the little bugger calls himself an "educator."

    1. Oh, yes (and oh, dear). That title is bad news. Either you're a teacher (or professor, if you're in higher ed; I understand why some people feel the need to make the distinction, probably after being called "Mr./Mrs./Miss firstname" one too many times by a student), or you're an administrator (and if you're still doing some professing on a regular basis, then it's fair game to use "professor" even if a lot of your time is spent administrating). If you're a full-time administrator, then either own it, or get ye (back) to the classroom.

    2. I actually like "facilitator" in some contexts, but context, and the personality of the person claiming the term, does matter, a lot. If I encounter enough misuse of the term, I'm sure I'll grow allergic to it, too.

  3. Never once have I found even one of these people who could pass any of the exams in any of my classes. It's much like Deepak Chopra's knowledge of quantum mechanics.

  4. And another "amen." We're lucky in that our OTM is run by people with actual degrees in actual fields, and ongoing teaching experience. The jury is still out on the all-too-separate Office of Online Teaching Methodology (yes, they're separate; I'm not sure why, but I don't like some of the possible explanations).

    I'm pretty sure that some fields should only be taught as add-on certificates (or, if you want to get fancy, 2nd M.A.s), with a concurrent degree in an actual, traditional field (of the sort that involves intro and gen-ed undergrad classes) required. Or maybe we could take a page from many B-schools (who thought I'd be saying that?) and require a certain number of years of experience in the work world (the classroom, in this case) before one could enter the M.A. program?