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Old 10-07-2007, 12:25 PM   #41
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I'm TAing an undergrad course right now. It's incredibly frustrating. For example, they have bonus quizzes posted online and I can't tell you how many times I've gotten e-mails asking where the quizzes are. In the effin folder called "Bonus Quizzes!" Jeez, honestly. A good 30% of the class never tries to solve their own problems - they immediately go ask the TA when a simple 30 second search would have provided them with the answer.
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:10 PM   #42
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Yeah don't you just love that? I think I said earlier that nearly all of the points I was docking were just because the students didn't READ and FOLLOW the directions (which walked them through the assignments, step-by-step, these were not subjective exercises!). Part of TAing for me was sitting in the computer lab at certain times so they could come in for extra help or with problems they couldn't figure out. One semester, the ONLY person that came was a really great kid from the Sudan who did not speak English well so basically I re-taught what the prof was doing in class, just at a slower pace (and he picked up on it really quickly, not problems besides the language barrier). Well, the final day of open lab, basically ALL of the students show up, trying to finish assignments from all semester long and expecting me (the only person available) to basically walk all of them through every assignment they never bothered to do or read directions for. Hmmm, lets see....150 students of mine, a 2 hour open lab, and EVERYONE wants help at the same time? Not happening. Where were you when the assignment was actually due and when there was only one person ever coming to open lab?
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:23 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by namkcuR
Power trips

I'm not a prof nor have I ever TAed(nor do I ever plan to), but if I were....I'd be lenient. Especially if I have a class full of people taking it purely as a gened requirement that has pointlessly been added to their degree. Just make an honest effort and I'll pass you. That would be my philosophy for those students. I'd probably be a little stricter for those students who are majoring in the subject at hand.
Seriously? I mean, seriously?
Wow. Well, I'm not a doctor, but I think it's okay to be lenient. I mean, if a doctor misses a cancer diagnosis, or amputates the wrong leg, or gives someone a deadly dosage of a drug, it's OK if the doctor at least makes an honest effort.

(Yes, I know that writing a paper isn't as important in the scheme of things as being a doctor...but your attitude toward education and the difficulties of teaching is maddening. If students aren't going to take it seriously, they should just go find a job. Those who teach take it seriously, and it's difficult not to take the students' laziness and apathy personally.)

I taught college English courses for over two years. I had finally had enough. It was at a public university, so I had students of all backgrounds and educational levels. But too often my job was reminding the kids that it was school.

S. C. H. O. O. L.

Why, in the name of all that's holy, would a kid who HATED high school go to college right away? Hell, I loved school/learning, but didn't start college for 3 years out of high school. And I'm damned glad for it, too. I worked shit jobs and realized that college was the only thing that was gonna get me out of it. On the frist day of my classes, I'd ask the students how many of them worked to pay for school, how many were on loans, and how many had parents who were footing the bill. It was often about 1/3 of each. I told the kids who were working that they didn't want their hard-earned money to go down the drain by failing my class. I told the kids on loans that they'd be paying for an F for years, so it would behoove them to pass. And the kids with parents who paid? I told them that they didn't want to have to hear about failing English 101 and 102 until the end of time!

And I don't care if the kids were going to be nurses, CEOs, or engineers. Knowing how to write a complete sentence is an extension of knowing how to speak one. A lot of college is learning how to be a well-rounded adult, and part of that is being able to express yourself logically and clearly in writing.

Can you tell that, even over five years later, it still bugs me that so many of my students just didn't care?

To those of you TAing and teaching--don't be pushovers. The kids who are farting around will figure it out one day, but you have to live with yourself if you give up and let them slide. A college degree needs to be earned to be worth anything.

OK, I'm done now.
thanks for letting me rant!
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:35 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by enggirl
Why, in the name of all that's holy, would a kid who HATED high school go to college right away?
I hated school -- starting right from somewhere in the middle of my very first day in first grade -- but I loved college. Sometimes it's just a matter of fit. I liked the sink or swim aspect of college and I also liked the intellectual freedom I felt there that I didn't feel before. I'm sure there were some people who thought I wouldn't last very long in college because I barely made it through high school (not because I wasn't smart enough, but because I didn't feel like doing the work), but I managed quite nicely.

I went to college right after high school.

Maybe it worked because I don't believe in "all that's holy."
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:18 PM   #45
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I've been teaching high school for 10 years and I seriously belive that students are getting lazier and more stupid every year (no hyperbole). I teach an elective class where, pretty much all they have to do is show up, participate and follow the rules to pass and yet I have about 10-15% failing at the end of each grading period.

It's a little discouraging to hear that college isn't much better. But it sounds like you're students are "shaping up" or at least learning to deal with the parameters of your expectations. Now to see if that crosses over to their other classes... THAT would be interesting.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:38 AM   #46
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well, I just got the first batch of essays. I returned first drafts to them a week before with some suggestions to really help shape their papers. Not just grammatical issues, but clarifying theses, maintaining flow and focus, etc. I'd say less than half listened. I had one (accidental) case of plagiarism, a number of people change their paper so much they created new problems, and one person actually gave me the same paper, still 2 of 5 pages long, with an extra paragraph and no content errors addressed. With the original stapled to the top. The most substantial thing he did was move his header from the right to left. I'm still aching.

Giving over half of the class Ds or lower made me feel really bad. But apparently I'm one of the nicer writing instructors in that regard.
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Old 10-09-2007, 02:11 PM   #47
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^

What was it again? A college?

What an asshole that student.
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:36 PM   #48
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Okay, so the rough drafts for my first round of 102 papers are in. And their writing is so much better here than it has been on the preliminary assignments. I think they're just lazy - I really ripped into them on Wednesday because I only had 4 people in the class 10 minutes after 8 AM. By 8:20, I had nearly 20. I told them that if they were hanging around campus, as some had been, they had no excuse. If they were late because of traffic, they needed to get out of bed and leave 10 minutes earlier. Then I dismissed early and walked out.

I've received 4 or 5 apologetic e-mails already. I hate to play them like that, but it seems to be helping. And as I said, they're not bad writers - they're just irresponsible and lazy.

My 101 continues to impress me. While they're not as strong naturally as the 102 students I have, their second paper drafts have been breathtaking where improvement is concerned. I really can't articulate the difference between these drafts and the drafts for the first paper. I did have to give out a LOT of Ds the first time, but I think it actually got them going to the Learning Resource Center and caring about the writing.

There's also been a bit of a shift in material - I'm not having to play catch-up so much. We just finished reading V for Vendetta in my 102 class, and after this it's on them to find and discuss primary sources with the class, then begin the research process on a topic prompted by this source. I'm mostly just there to help with the writing from here out.

My 101 is just getting FUN. We finished the first portion of the class, first-hand accounts of the Holocaust. We read Diary of a Young Girl, Survival in Auschwitz, and Night, along with the short story "This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen" by Tadeusz Borowksi. While many complained of the subject matter, their papers are great. Essentially, I wanted them to look at how 2 or 3 different writers presented their experience. Night is more dramatized, Survival in Auschwitz is detached and academic, Diary of a Young Girl shifts half-way through. And the supplemental readings and class discussion seem to have gotten this through to them.

So now, we're entering part two - dealing with the persecution of the gay community in Nazi Germany. There is not as much literature to work with here, but there are a few stunners. We watched The Producers (2005) to lighten things up, and for the most part it was a smash success. They all got the irony of a gay Hitler, which was a segue to discussing Doug Wright's play "I Am My Own Wife," the story of Wright's interviews with Charlotte Van Mahlsdorf. For anyone who does not know, Mahlsdorf was a transvestite who survived both Nazi Germany and Communist East Berlin. Fascinating character study.

We're then doing Cabaret. A lot of the issues are peripheral, but that's where the great tension comes from - Michael Yorke playing a bisexual man who could otherwise be fine, Jewish characters pretending to be Christian. . . there's so much to talk about. and finally moving on to The Cunning of History, an essay about indifference. And the culmination of the class is Schindler's List, which will take about 4 class periods. But I love it, so it's okay.

Most of them are being really receptive. I was worried how they would handle the gay material, but they've been very good. I did love the "Why are we reading this?" question, though. It gave me an excuse to show them parts of Borat. Basically, I asked them why issues of anti-semitism and homophobia are relevant today, and someone actually said, "They're not in America."

Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

So I showed the scene where Borat tries to by a gun to kill Jews. And the scene where the rodeo guy wants to hang gay people. No one argued with me after that.

So it's getting better. which is good, because my papers are going to have to be written soon and I need less stress.
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