Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gifts to Students. From Cassandra.

Of course I rolled my eyes at this headline when it came up in my newsfeed:

Why I give each of my college students a gift to mark the end of the semester

And the rolling was unabated when I read that the author is a "professorial lecturer" -- i.e. a contingent faculty member -- at a very expensive university that is not known for treating its contingent faculty well.

But once I read it, I rather liked the idea. The gift is neither time-consuming nor expensive to make (probably less so than pizza or cookies). And, most important, it offers the students something the instructor thinks is valuable (which some of them will appreciate, and many may not; see the flashback that is at the top of the page as I write).

Also, students have to come to a one-one-one draft conference (a very valuable exercise of which some students are leery, for a variety of reasons ranging from anxiety at being "judged" -- not the point -- to not having a draft -- or, in rarer cases, a draft they are competent to discuss since they wrote it themselves). In short, the gift is an extension of the professor's pedagogy, not an instance of pandering to the students' own (perceived) desires.



  1. This is actually a lovely idea. I wonder how it could work in a larger class where you couldn't customize something for each student.

    This is for you. It's a genetically modified pathogen inspired by all of you in this semester's Intro Bio class. Don't drop it!

  2. I like to give books to some students who I think will appreciate them. They always seem surprised, and (hopefully) pleased.

  3. It's all I can do not to give some of mine a smack in the head.

  4. I prefer to give gifts of students.
    Do let me know how many you'd like.

    1. Students as hot potatoes?

      Or, alternatively, "take my students. Please!"

      But no thanks.

      In fact, Suzy Snowflake, I'm very sorry that my section is full, but I think Prof. EC1's approach to the subject would be very well suited to your, um, interests.