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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why We Are Bitter

There are lots of conversations going on all over the web about why we teach college if we think students are so horrible. Why are we so evil and mean-spirited and why do we post our students' e-mails on the Internet if we're truly "educators"? Can't we be more compassionate? After all, surely we weren't perfect when we were undergrads, right? Honestly, aren't they just kids? Can't we cut them a break now and then? Don't we all make mistakes?

You truly cannot grasp the complexity of emotions that accompanies teaching until you've done it. Believe me, three years ago, I would have been on the "Boo! Hiss!" wagon of do-gooders who thought professors were cold and heartless and students were people, too and bang the drum of empathy and understanding, ad nauseum.

But this explains it, better than I ever could. And this happened to me my first semester teaching (and it has happened at least once every semester since), the only difference being I lived 44 miles away from campus (not 30) and my student called me to tell me she had "something going on" and a colleague of mine saw her walking into Subway at our appointment meeting time. I guess the something going on was lunch. Although I might have been more pissed if it were Homecoming banners.

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Blogger Just another student said...

If it helps any, most of the students hate this kind of behavior too, when we get wind of it. It's rude and it makes the professors grumpy. Students don't like it when the professors are grumpy..

November 30, 2006 7:50 PM  
Blogger Moobs said...

On my first day on the job as a university lecturer I wandered into the staff room at lunchtime to find my colleagues reading aloud from student essays and laughing. Before I joined in I felt a shiver of realisation that my most paranoid student fears had all been true.

December 01, 2006 8:49 AM  
Blogger The "Mind" said...

Honestly, I could never do your job. I can't even begin to say how pissed off I am at a fellow classmate for his lack of, well, everything. If I were the instructor, I'm honestly think I'd have a hard time not tossing him out of class the moment he laid his head down.

As it is, he was snoring this week and I seriously wanted to just walk over and dump his desk over.

December 01, 2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger Dr. Lisa said...

Thank you!!!! I usually lurk here, but this such a brilliant post, I had to speak up. I don't think anybody who is paying attention as a teacher can do anything besides love/hate what they are doing and they people they encounter. Sometimes, you just have to let off a little steam.

December 02, 2006 8:29 AM  
Blogger mex said...

I left a link to yr wonderful blog in my entry today.. hope you don't mind.. I cant figger out blogrolling yet.. that is HOW to make a blogroll


also hope I didnt leave this same comment twice, phone rang

December 02, 2006 4:28 PM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

You know, I've always felt torn. There are days that I love what I do, and then I get a paper that uses "u" instead of "you", and I'm convinced that the world is going to hell.

I avoid some academic-type blogs, because they're too negative for this young buck. But I think the reason teachers of all level bitch is because the bitching is fairly universal. Unlike corporate bitching, which is often field-specific, anyone in education can bitch about parents, students, the decline in the written English language, etc.

Deep thoughts on a Sunday morn by Art Nerd. ;)

December 03, 2006 8:57 AM  
Blogger Fraulein N said...

From now on I am going to refer to lunch as "something going on." I think I'm about to have something going on right now, as a matter of fact.

December 04, 2006 1:07 PM  
Blogger Thomas Vickers said...

I am not a college level educator, but I can tell you that our job, no matter what the level is daunting.

We are allowed to mock, bitch, groan, and generally complain.

At your level, I would kill students. I know I would.

At least in public eductation, I can always lie and say that I can't expect a better quality of student


December 04, 2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger ricki said...

Actually, I think of it as "I bitch because I care."

If I didn't have high expectations of my students - if I didn't genuinely believe that if they applied themselves, got help when they needed it, etc., etc., they could do a LOT BETTER than what I see.

I don't think they're "bad" or "stupid." I think they're not working up to potential and it drives me up the wall.

I also am generally angered by what I perceive as incivility or selfish behavior. I would be as prone to bitch about a friend who stood me up at lunch because something "more fun" came on the horizon as I would about a student who made an appointment (two appointments, actually) with me to make up a missed exam and who failed to show up for either appointment.

My time counts for something. Bad behavior is bad behavior whether it's a friend, employer, spouse, or student committing it.

December 05, 2006 10:19 AM  

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