Monday, November 30, 2009

Comment to PhDamned

Here's the link to the original context

This person asked whether we considered the student body (and their attitudes) when interviewing for our current jobs. I replied:

I wasn't thinking of the students when I interviewed. I was pretty single minded, canihavethisjobcanihavethisjobcanihavethisjob????

But now that I have the job I am thinking two things. 1. I have a bunch of really smart students mixed in with some really unprepared or un-abled students. Its hard to teach to both. Impossible, no. Hard, yeah. If I had a homogeneous group of super students my life would be easier but duller. It does keep me driven to improve my teaching skills. But its heart breaking when someone you like very much who is busting butt in your class just. can't. make. it.

2. One thing I really like about the culture of my current institution (a religious U) is that the ratio of honest, good intentioned kids is higher than at other schools. Yes we have cheaters and jerks, but less of them. My students treat me in general with respect. That really makes it a nicer place to work.

I went to a conference with someone who teaches at a "Potted Ivy" and she said she has a disturbingly high number of female students with eating disorders and other emotional issues. That was sobering.

Another friend who teaches at a large state school says she had a student come into class drunk and disruptive and had to have them removed.

Those could happen to me, too, but haven't yet. The chances of me dealing with stuff like that is LOWER though.

I think of moving to a more selective school, where I would have brighter students but I stay put because I really like the culture. And a big part of that is the students.

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