Monday, May 02, 2011

Diffidence or Apathy

I meet with a lot of students and spend some time talking about their education with them. And with (to me) shocking (still) regularity, I'll ask them what they're taking this semester, or who's their professor for this class or that, or what they are learning, and they'll hem and haw and hesitate, because they just can't remember what classes they're taking, or what their professor's name is, or that they're supposed to be learning something.

It's shocking, really, and I can't tell if it's a matter of my being so utterly intimidating a presence that they can't remember or if they just don't care. But they don't seem nearly as worried about their lack of knowledge as I am.

How do you, at this time of the semester, not know what you're taking? Presumably you spend 2-5 (depending on the class) hours per week doing whatever course, plus study time. How do you not remember that?

And you know, when the people who survey students and such survey students, students always talk about how important it is that their instructors know their names. I have in a given semester, somewhere between 60-90 students, and I do try to know their names. Students have 4-6 instructors, and they can't remember their names? Really?

I have to go teach now. Some class. I'm not sure which. Maybe I should ask and see if someone else knows?


  1. I'm baffled about how a student could not know what courses he or she was taking. After fourteen years at a state university, I'm not surprised when a student in a big lecture course doesn't really have a clear grasp of my name. But I would hope they know the course subject!

  2. I'm always surprised at this, too. Also when they can't remember the name of a course that has been completed.

  3. Goldfish students!

    They say goldfish have no memories
    I guess their lives are much like mine
    And the little plastic castle
    Is a surprise every time
    And it's hard to say if they're happy
    But they don't seem much to mind

    Who knew Ani was singing about college students?