Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Well, That's Over

So I met with the problematic student yesterday. For like 2.5 minutes. It was shockingly anti-climactic; he was totally agreeable, just said "Sure, yeah, okay," and I pretty much ran out of things to say after a few sentences. Well. What could I do, in the face of zero resistance? I told him that what he'd written was unacceptable in an academic context--not just my class, but any of his classes--and that there was no difference between this and racism/anti-Semitism/what have you. Eh. That's over.

And I'm feeling pretty much done with it, myself, so that suits me fine.

In better teaching news:

I had my students fill out mid-term evaluations this week, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. The upper-level and survey courses got generally very good reviews, and my comp reviews were surprisingly decent (not stellar, but fine--any dissatisfaction with the course seems linked to our choice of textbooks and the basic structure of the comp sequence, not to me in particular. Although I have been accused of using "too many big words." Um...k?).

There were a couple of funny comments in the reviews. Someone wrote (in pencil) "Seems very intelligent" next to the rate-the-professor question and then erased it; another student praised me for being delicate with students who weren't quite on the right track and managing not to just tell people that they were "wrong." My first thought in reading the latter was, "They're on to me!" Because I often have the sense--especially in that particular class--that I'm doing a lot of heavy damage control: putting out the Fires of Error without snuffing out the Flame of Enthusiasm. Unfortunately, Error-Fires tend to feed on the dry twigs of Easy Agreement to Score Participation Points, leading to a raging inferno that threatens to spread into even the minds of Sound Timber--I'm losing track of my metaphor--get the idea? Yeah. In plainer terms: Errors compound when they go unchecked. But I'd rather have the students correct one another than just tell them the right answers (obviously). So when someone says something that's just not quite accurate, I'll ask the rest of the class if they agree--sometimes this works fine, but at others I find us charging headlong down an obscure and troubling path--

--and, okay, I'm spending way too long describing a not-innovative strategy. Y'all know what I'm talking about.

So, hum. I have job apps to work on. I need to read for Thursday (because I'm booked from 8am to 9:30pm tomorrow). I'm not fully prepped for Wednesday. I need to figure out an assignment for Monday (no class Friday, huzzah!). And...maybe I'll just turn in early.


Fretful Porpentine said...

Somehow, I'm not surprised about the anti-climacticism (is that a word?) In my experience, students who write stuff like that tend to roll right over when someone calls them on their bullshit -- I don't know if they're cowards at heart, or if they're just clueless and have no idea how what they've just written comes off.

Flavia said...

. . .putting out the Fires of Error without snuffing out the Flame of Enthusiasm. . .