Tuesday, September 18, 2012
This has got to be a joke.
Or maybe Allen Funt is hiding in the bushes outside of my building.
Because there is no way they are really this helpless or apathetic. No way.
I teach an intro class at a state school. For class they had to read a very well-known document in their reader-- it was listed right in the syllabus, under "Readings." Now, this is a foundational text that they should already be familiar with, but that is beside the point here. I lectured for about half an hour to introduce the topic and sum up the concepts they should have been familiar with from their textbook and previous lectures while they all looked at me like I was speaking Fyarl, then I asked them to break up into small groups to discuss the document in more detail. Once they had split up into their groups (about 15 different groups scattered around the room), hands started to go up. As I walked around to each group to answer their questions, no less than five students waited for me to get to them and then asked me, WITH THEIR BOOKS IN THEIR HANDS, "What page is it on?"
REALLY? ARE YOU REALLY THAT FUCKING HELPLESS? CAN YOU NOT LOOK AT A TABLE OF CONTENTS? YOU EXPECT ME TO WALK AROUND AND LOOK IT UP FOR YOU?
Never mind the fact that they should have already read it (and therefore KNOW how to find it). One group gestured me over and asked "which book is it in?" while looking helplessly at their textbook covers. Another informed me that the page numbers in the syllabus were wrong (it seems I forgot to change it from the old edition) and when he went to do the reading the night before the page listed was the middle of a document, so he couldn't do the reading (and yes, the title of the document was listed before the page numbers).
I give up. From now on I will simply hand them a list of things they should know, and give multiple choice questions that are phrased exactly the same as the handouts. My lectures will be simply reading those handouts while they underline the key terms. And I'm sure, if I do this, they will still ask "where in the handout is this term?"