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, April 06, 2007

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

Believe it or not, in spite of my constant bitching, I do want my students to have a good learning experience. Notice, I didn't say experience. I said learning experience. I have enough educational theory under my belt to know the basic principles of "adult learning" and recognize that different people learn differently and blah, blah, blah. Oh, those poor "hands-on" learners. Anything that might be considered "hands-on" in my class would land me in the women's federal penitentiary.

So this semester, for the first time ever, I've started doing "mini-evaluations" after every other class. Here's the logic: If I know I'm doing something wrong early on, I can actually fix it. I know - genius, right? Because honestly, by the time I get the official university evals back, it will be the middle of October, and I won't even remember much about this class. And - did I mention it will be the middle of October? Meaning any egregious teaching errors I made will be repeated for the first 7 weeks of a new semester? Great system, isn't it?

But the kids, they were angry this week. They didn't do so well on their last midterm. Well - that's a bit incorrect. They did "average" - which is about right. Average means that's how most people do (or am I wrong? Isn't that the gist of "average"?) But in spite of the fact that this state school isn't exactly considered a public version of the Ivy League, I'm still shocked that my students expect As for, well, existing, it would seem. So their evals were pretty pissy. As the saying goes, though, "You asked for it." Indeed I did. Here are a few of my favorites: WARNING: Not recommended for children or those easily offended. Severe sarcasm, bitchiness and very "Unteacher-like" behavior below.

  • For the exam, you need to narrow down the study guide more to the specifics of exactly what will be on the exam. Oh. I see. You need me to give you a copy of the actual exam. Duh. What was I thinking? My bad. See, I thought that the point of most courses is to learn about a particular body of knowledge, not memorize a bunch of exam questions. How silly of me. I'll be sure and distribute the final a few weeks in advance.
  • You need to stress to us how important it is to read the textbook. Gosh. I don't know why I didn't think of that. I thought since I give you quizzes every week to motivate you to keep up with the reading, that might be enough. I also thought that putting it in the syllabus, including some page numbers from the book on the study guide and, well, saying, "You need to keep up with your reading" you would get the fact that I think reading is important. Next semester, I will be sure to sing it, while performing an interpretive dance so you have a better chance of understanding that you need to read the textbook.
  • Tell us what is important and what is really going to be on the test. I'm sorry. I thought by saying before certain lectures, "Now, this will be important for you to know for the exam," that's what I was doing. If only I weren't so vague in my communications with you. For the rest of the semester, I will hit you over the head with a styrofoam bat every time I discuss something that might be on the exam. This will result in constant hitting, but over time I think the numbness in your skull will actually help you become a better human being.
  • Give more extra credit. Interesting. When I first started teaching, the concept of extra credit in college was about as foreign to me as young women parading their muffin tops across campus. But since I am insecure, neurotic and a people-pleaser I got on board right away. And you know what? I also tried to assign things that would actually inflict learning on your underfed, underworked little brains. The last time I checked, I have given five (5) extra credit opportunities this semester. The thing is, though, you have to be in class because that's when I assign extra credit. Sorry about that. Would you like me to visit you in your residence hall room so you can get extra credit without coming to class? Or do you mean I should come up with a few options just for you, that include, oh, "Have sex with your girlfriend and then write a paper about it"? Let me know what would work best for you. I'm all ears.

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Blogger DrSpouse said...

Our MSc class in a very theoretical course, intended prepare students for research, and very definitely NOT as a clinical qualification - we could get in big trouble for presenting at as a clinical qualification - had loads of comments about "why didn't you tell us how to TREAT developmental disorders".

Well, probably because we could get sued if we tried to train you to be clinical psychologist, because we are not a clinical psychology course. And since half of you are doing the course in order to boost your chances of getting on to an actual clinical psychology course, perhaps you could have noticed that???!

April 06, 2007 5:13 PM  
Blogger mex (aka Syb) said...

I Just had an idea!!

Why not preface a few "new" classes in the next semester by reading those Qs and answering them, (orally w/ the new class) and then continuing to do those mini-evals and reading/answering them for the kids.. Just an idea:)

April 08, 2007 9:03 AM  
Blogger jackie said...

I am firmly convinced that no student will be satisfied until all exams are open-book, open-notes, and untimed. Until then, they are the victims, and we are the big mean oppressors.

I have a strict no-extra-credit policy in my classes and always have, no matter what class or level of student I am teaching. I even state it on my syllabus and mention it during the first week of class. Students are often horrified, but I don't care. Really, they just want to be able to screw up and then still coast through.

Oddly enough, from this comment, you wouldn't know that I actually love teaching! I do! But the students.... that's another story :).

April 08, 2007 6:04 PM  
Blogger Kimmy753 said...

Gawd you make me laugh. I'm sorry you have to endure such stupidity amongst your students as I, but your *thoughts* are genius!

April 09, 2007 11:14 AM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I swear, they want extra credit for doing what they are supposed to, partial credit for showing up and to pass just for having a pulse. Oy!

April 09, 2007 3:22 PM  
Blogger Rate Your Students said...

One of us did this exact thing and got the same kind of responses. We felt all noble going into the experiment, and like dolts coming out.

Don't ask what they want; you don't want to know.

We love you, as you know...

April 09, 2007 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had teachers who must have gotten evaluations like those you've received in the past. They would stress, to the point of being obnoxious, what would be on tests.

And I would sit there in class thinking that it was this ridiculous show (such as repeating "X will be on the exam" loudly, five or six times).

Now, I realize they've been blasted such as you have by clueless students.

April 10, 2007 10:20 AM  
Blogger The Therapist said...

I've noticed more and more of my students wanting me to "narrow" down the material that will be on the test. That's pretty hard since I am usually making up the test at midnight before they come in to take it.

April 12, 2007 8:35 PM  
Blogger ffbgirl said...

That was spectacular!! I teach a soph/jr-level journalism writing course and am always intrigued by their "entitlement" issues.

"But I have never been given less than a B..." Sorry dears, you earned less than a B so that's what I am giving you...

Thank you for making me laugh!

May 08, 2007 2:01 AM  

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