Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Teacher Lady's Friday Fun Corner!

Okay, so the title was a blatant rip-off of Captain Kangaroo (or was it? Now I'm thinking it wasn't "Fun Corner", it was "Picture Pages" which isn't exactly the same thing. Hmm . . . oh, well.) And it's not a corner, so much as a general space, but the title is catchy and it's my blog, so there!

Today is just a bunch of random questions and if anyone can answer them, I will . . . what is a good prize . . . I will . . . send you a lifetime supply of free condoms and "condom demonstration models"? (aka, plastic penises). No, I think the department would probably notice if that box of 100 "condom demonstration models" went missing . . . Well, maybe that's the first question someone can answer for me . . .what is a good prize here in the blogosphere?

Ready? Ready to participate in Friday Fun Corner with no payoff for you? Thought so. Okay, kiddies, strap on your thinking caps and away we go!!!! (Hint: Today's secret phrase is: Teacher Lady watches too much TV (no cable in the new place) and spends too much time in her car listening to crappy music because her CD player is broken!)

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Why in the hell is Justin Timberlake famous? That song "Sexy Back" sounds like it is whined sung by a woman.

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Why are the shows According to Jim and King of Queens not just on television but in syndication???? I don't need to see either of those shows ever, and certainly not 3 times a day. Plus, there's nothing that irks me more than a show based on the premise of a swarthy, sweaty, hairy "big lug with a heart of gold" married to a woman who looks like Courtney Thorne Smith. Yes, I'm talking about you, Jim Belushi! (Also, I find it interesting that Thorne tripped the spellcheck, but Belushi did not.) Way to give average Joes WAY unrealistic expectations. When women run the world, I would like to see a television show based on a married couple where the woman looks like Roseanne, pre "crazy-plastic surgery addiction" and the husband looks like Brad Pitt. Sound ridiculous and implausible? I think yes. Will we ever see that? I think no. If we ever do see that, that's when I'll say loud and proud, "We've come a loooong way, baby!!"

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Why do college students (oh, boy, here we go - buckle up, campers, it's gonna be a bumpy ride!) wear pajamas as clothing? Not care if when together in large groups they look like "The Great Unwashed"? Text message in class as if no one can see them? (I've addressed this one before, but I still don't understand it) Not "clean up after themselves"?! Yesterday, in an effort to embrace a more "laid-back" spirit in the classroom (really, for my sake - not for theirs. I do NOT want to be the youngest woman in history to have a frustration-caused stroke), I observed a seasoned colleague who also teaches a section of the human sex course. Maybe because of the time of day, nearly every student was sucking down some kind of beverage - mostly coffee, but there were a few cans of Rock Star here and there. After class was over, I stayed behind to ask my friend a few questions about her teaching methods. As a stood at the front of the room and surveyed it, I felt like I was looking at a commercial sponsored by a "Save the Earth" type organization. Every aisle was (literally) littered with empty coffee cups, soda cans and empty Gatorade bottles. Believe me, I can understand leaving things behind - sometimes I think my nickname should be Forgetful Jones - but did they all forget? It was very disheartening to see. In many ways, even more disheartening than some of their papers. Which brings me to . . .

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What the hell are they teaching those kids in grammar school? Middle school? High school? Believe me, I am NOT ragging on teachers. My mother is an English teacher and I can't imagine how she did her job for as long as she did. And I also get (believe me, I REALLY get) feeling like the students are so far gone that it's too late to try to help them with their writing at whatever point they're at. But still. I will try to post some examples later today.

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Why does "advocate for students" seem to mean "at the expense of faculty's power and esteem?" And, are we really helping our students in the end? Our department chair has been celebrated as someone who "really cares about the students" and is "a great advocate for students." But, if every time they make a mistake, we pat them on the head, tell them it's okay, we'll fix it, give them a cookie and send them on their merry way, what are they learning? If they're not adults (which I've been told, in the past month, repeatedly that they are not, and it's our job to support the "growth process"), how is never letting them feel any consequences for their "mistakes" (legitimate) or "wrongdoings" (aka "cheating") helping them? 'Cause lemme tell ya, I will NEVER again make the "mistake" of not posting a sign on the door of a classroom even if the room change took place six months before the start of the semester. I got bitch-slapped because of something I did, and although it was bitter medicine, I had to choke it down and - to repeat myself, I will never make the same mistake again. What are we teaching these "kids" when we let them make up a midterm, final, paper, when we forgive plaigarism or cheating because they "just didn't know?" Personally, I don't think we're teaching them anything - or at least not anything good, and it scares the crap out of me.

I patiently await your brilliant, impressive answers, Internetweb people. Thank you.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I've been lurking since August. I haven't commented previously, but with this little quiz and the possiblilty of winning, well, nothing, I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.

Justin Timberlake? Baffling

AtJ and KoQ? Equally baffling

Pajamas in class? Not a clue.

I always felt that had I gone to college, I would have had more self-pride than to wear something I slept in.

As for the garbage, I'd seriously be tempted to save it and put it on their desks so it was waiting for them when they came back in they pajamas, listening to Justin Timberlake on their iPods.

September 29, 2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

Sadly, I think that students are quick to whine to parents, who pay tuition and then bitch to the folks who employ the faculty, especially at a state school. We have that happen quite often where I am--the legislature gets complaints, they crack down on the state school, and it trickles down from there.

As for Justin Timberlake, I have no clue, especially given the title of his last album. I think you have to have some sort of hormone imbalance to find him attractive.

A great prize would be a $10 gift card to Babeland!

September 29, 2006 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Professordog said...

I will confront the pajama question. The answer? Students do not realize that what they wear contributes to making an impression on adults, as well as on their peers. They realize that pyjamas, worn during the day, will make the cute classmate in the next row think about the pyjama-wearer in bed. They do not realize that the teacher will make the same connection, with the further association that the student must not be taking the class very seriously.

Also, Young People Today see three purposes for clothing:
1. Covering what legally has to be covered in public.
2. Reminding the opposite sex of just what it being covered.
3. Being comfortable.
The idea that one might voluntarilly choose to wear clothes that are slightly less comfortable in order to convey respect for the educational process (or anything else) is completely foreign to them. They'd no more think to wear actual clothes to class than they'd think of bowing when they see you in the halls or stopping at a yellow light.

September 29, 2006 8:32 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Maybe they are wearing the jammies to their Sex Ed class on purpose! Puts'em in the mood!
Here's that separated at birth thing again, because I was just thinking the VERY SAME thing about "The Kind of Queens" and "According to Jim" yesterday! Add "Yes Dear" to the list, too. I freaking hate that show.

September 30, 2006 12:17 AM  
Blogger teachergirl said...

Hey Teacher Lady!

Justin Timberlake: Not music. And here's the deal: what they are scribbling here in the 5th grade and turning in: NOT writing, either. My students can't tell the difference between music and real writing because they don't listen to real music and they can't or don't or won't read. It drives me crazy. Drop by sometime. Glad I found you.

September 30, 2006 10:24 AM  
Anonymous socprof said...

Pajamas = lazy. Evidenced in 20 other ways in their work and conduct as well. Remember the young women who wore flip flops to meet the President? Also baffling, and I am not aged enough to rightfully be called a fuddy-duddy. But I would never show my toes in flip flops at an event with a head of state. I've got to return to paper grading now, wherein I discover the truth of the world according to my students. PS: I don't use a condom demo model (don't do demos anymore), but I'd love to just carry one to class regularly and freak 'em out.

October 01, 2006 11:38 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

1. Justin Timberlake is an audioanimatronic device developed by Disney. He was designed for maximum appeal to teen girls on The New Mickey Mouse Club, and based on multiple focus groups and years of research. However, much like Pinocchio or robots in Ray Bradbury stories, he began to believe he was real and then things went awry.

2. According to Jim and King of Queens are marketed to people who can't figure out how to use Netflix or Tivo. I actually didn't even know they were in syndication, because even if every other DVD is beat to s*** and unplayable, Netflix is still my friend.

3. I confess that sometimes I can't tell the difference between pajamas and clothes. Since I'm a hardcore t-shirt-to-bed person, I have a little sympathy for this. But inability to find a trash can? I don't get it.

4. Even in my day, we spent more time on "essays" than core grammar. I don't know why. Because it is "boring"? Or maybe administrators think it should be obvious? It is a curriculum problem, and it is only going to get worse.

5. Because we have a consumer culture, and at some point universities decided that they were selling a "product" (education) and that the students were "customers." And we all know that the customer is always right, so let's give the customer what he/she "wants" rather than "needs." Next we'll decide that parents are a product and kids are customer, and then society will collapse completely.

October 02, 2006 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Antique Mommy said...

Along those lines, I've always wondered why Brittney Spears is famous. That thing she does cannot be classified as singing. I can hardly think of anyone less interesting, except perhaps Justin Timberlake.

October 02, 2006 1:35 PM  
Blogger MizMell said...

When my house was filled with teenagers and cups and the like were left behind, I always made a point of saving it. I'd present the cup or can to the owner upon the next and tell them I had saved it for them. They'd give me a blank stare, followed by "I didn't want it." I'd reply, "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought since you left it out, you must have wanted to save it." They'd reiterate "I didn't want it." I would follow up by showing/telling where the trashcan is located. Most kids caught on after the first time... there were a few stragglers.
And the only things worth viewing in syndication is Murphy Brown, Becker and Frasier!!

October 04, 2006 7:05 AM  

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