Saturday, November 17, 2007


I was in the lunchroom the other day, eating, while one of my colleagues decided to hold forth on how the world should be run, specifically, how a common writing class should be taught. He kept on and on about how we should all teach basically the same, and we should all do the same sort of assignments, and the same number of assignments, and on and on.

We have a common set of goals for our common writing class, and then we figure each of us is a well-trained professional and we will work towards those goals as we best can.

Finally, one of the other people in the lunchroom asked our orator if he used the common goals to direct what he does in his class.

The orator stopped, hesitated, and bragged that he doesn't look at the common goals, but he has his own goals, and blah blah blah. It was all I could do to not laugh out loud.

The humor was lost on the orator, however. Not on the rest of us.

I worry that someday, I'll be braying forth and won't see what an ass I am, even when someone holds up a big mirror and I'm chomping on a carrot, flicking my huge ears about.


  1. On this particular point, aren't there some checks or other requirements to insure the common goals are met?

    I could see an outdated course outline being ignored across the board, but someone who looks at the considered and collective wisdom of the department and gives it the finger is a special kind of donkey.

    I have a feeling you won't fall into this category, even if you tried :).

  2. I hope they don't all teach the same. One of the most important things for students is to surf from one instructor to the other in the first week and find out who is good and who sucks in those kinds of classes.

  3. I don't think you're at all in danger of that kind of lack of self-awareness. :) It takes balls to ignore the common goals and then brag about how everybody should teach how you teach, according to your goals!

  4. I probably would have laughed. Or gotten a nasty case of the very unprofessional giggles. That, or look at him with a furrowed brow.

  5. Inside, Well, theoretically, there are checks, but mostly everyone is so overextended that it's hard to keep up on things. And then there's the problem that this guy has a lot of power, and the people who are supposed to check don't.

    We've had classes where the class was written requiring X, and at the next check, only 1 of 6 people was actually doing X. We decided to cut X (since it wasn't central to the course as most of us saw the course). But there was a fight.

    MSILF (what does that mean, anyway?), There's no way we'd all teach it exactly alike, but we could be more in step. Math folks manage to use the same texts, same exams and such. I think we'd be killing each other if we tried that, though.

    MWWAK, I knew I forgot something! No balls! I worry though, that anyone of us can slip into lazy behaviors if we get complacent.

    K8, I was grinning a bit.