In the end, the summer gave me still more motivation to score a job at a college or university. After all, I'll get along with the students better when they've been fully socialized by America's hardworking educators—when Hank's sublimated his energy into high test scores and when Betty's read some Maxine Hong Kingston and Gish Jen, and overcome her literary prejudices.There is a lot wrong here, but I'll leave most of it to other CMers. I'm going to focus on the comparison between college and secondary students.
But I admit I'm looking forward to other perks of an academic job, as well—most important, a regular salary and a few months of escape from America's most precious resource.
This shocked me because I've TAed college students and done the test prep thing with secondary students. Working with the secondary students was definitely better. Why? Because when a 14-year-old whined that he didn't want to do the work and asked how many points he'll lose if he only does the easy parts, I could blame it on his being 14, being there because he is forced to, and doing work that doesn't "count" for his transcript. (Of course, I just told him to read the instructions and do his work to the best of his ability.) When one of my 20-year-old college students did the same thing in a required major course, those excuses didn't hold up.
My college students surely hadn't sublimated anything into high test scores. They got high test scores because the tests (not designed by me) were horribly easy , and my boss wanted easy partial credit on the short response questions. They whined and missed class and expected me to make it up for them. They gave me doctors' notes signed by their mothers, told me their fathers would kill them if I gave them bad grades, and claimed their plagiarizing was due to formatting errors.
I loved my secondary school kids. They were energetic and funny, and when they complained, they usually knew I wasn't going to take it but were just going to try it anyway. I was excited to teach a college class because I loved teaching so much after working with them. (Oh, and I let them call me by my first name, and although some of them insisted on calling me "Teacher Arrogant" and "Sensei Arrogant," it was never a problem.) But my college students were lethargic and boring, and when they complained, they thought they really could get out of doing their work and still get great grades for their transcripts. If "Mr. Blake" expects to find only keeners in college classes, he is in for a rude surprise.