Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 4, 2016

The bitter anniversary.
In a first-of-summer mode that suits me well. Rise early, write, nap, write, go into the garden and do the work that needs to be done there. When I hesitate about retirement, I should remember this. Work on Antigonus flies ahead.
Facebook discussion on what students do to irritate professors. The central problem is that students come from high schools (now– we were amply warned) with the wrong idea of what a professor is. He is not a “teacher” in the sense they’re used to. A professor professes, delivers information and understanding, which you either receive or you do not. The worst question you can ask a professor is “what can I do to improve my grade?” because there is only one answer, and that’s not what the questioner wants to hear. “Do better.” Study harder. Stop surfing the net in class. Read the material. It NEVER has to do with the professor’s teaching style or the student’s “learning style.” The material is there. You pick it up and make it yours, or you do not. Anxiety over retention has put administrators on the side of students in this, implying that professors are somehow responsible for student failure. But administrators are always wrong about everything. It is one of the constants by which we navigate our lives. I want my students to understand that I care about them absolutely, and want them to have the wisdom and the skills they need for abundant life. But also, that I don’t care one bit about their grade. That has nothing to do with me. It’s amazing that they should want it to.

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