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RBO Consternation

8 October, 2007

RBO Consternation

  • There is a collegial issue. I am Switzerland. Or sometimes the clueless looking guy in the light blue helmet.
  • There is a facilities issue. I worry that it is an indication of larger issues.
  • There are tech issues. These actually are indications of larger and completely insoluble issues. But they have caused faculty to move beyond biting nastiness right into slightly raising their voices, and reduced undergraduates to tears.
  • 1/3 of the students in my upper division class did not turn in their first paper. They will now have to pull 100% on each of their other assignments to get a middle B in my class. But … WTF? Who doesn’t turn in papers? I mean, I know I say I won’t take late work, but I’ve never actually refused anything if the story is good enough and the student is willing to take a cut in the final grade.
  • Speaking of late … Nice Book Review Editor, if you are reading this, really, I am kinda working on it and will have it in ASAP.
  • I am so far behind on applying for a postdoc that I don’t know if I can pull it together at this point, because I really don’t want to annoy my referees.
  • I so have to publish something academic, so that I can get someone in my field as a referee for the next application.
  • My FIVE classes are all ok. I like almost all the students, and dislike none. I am not especially fond of one of my classes as a whole, because there are some serious time-wasters, and I am close to asking people to leave. As it is, they are so confused that they confuse me. Er, by confused, I mean that several of them say in class that they are confused, but part of why they are confused is that they refuse to believe that I am not going to reiterate what’s in the textbook, and they won’t do the reading or bring notes.
  • I am counting the days (30) till I jet off to fabulous European Capital to visit LDW. I anticipate much enjoyment and much library time. Some day, I hope to have a vacation with him when we are not working or conferencing. Still, it’s good to have someone I can work and conference with. Crap. I have 30 days to read and comment on his MS.

How are your lives?

UPDATE: Because Nice Book Review Editor really is nice, and because my referrees are stars, I think I will be getting in the postdoc app and get going on the review and start editing LDW’s book. I’ve just realised that I can work on that on Monday nights, too, because I teach almost all day on Monday and am usually too tired to do anything else!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 October, 2007 2:35 pm

    Well now.I have no immediate issues with colleagues;both places I’m currently working need more accessible photocopying and ideally another administrator but we’ll cope;I have tech issues but they’re mostly home-based and indicate that I really need to get a better computer going and move house away from this router, the latter of which I am ineluctably doing anyway;my students have apparently now found their feet after some initial floundering but the first actual lecture is still to come;my book editor is being very understanding about lack of progress and I have people in Catalonia sending me papers (which implies that they can understand my e-mails!);job applications have potential but as yet nothing realised, and one that’s just opened up is so ridiculously short-deadlined that I doubt I can pull it and teaching off;publication plans actually look as if something might happen soon, but I always think that till the rejections come back…;my plans to go to Presumably Different European Capital got shelved when the teaching turned up 😦 Well, you did ask…

  2. 8 October, 2007 3:53 pm

    Here’s a scary one. Last fall, when my students seemed particularly clueless, I asked why. The conversation brought out a horrifying fact:24/28 noted that they didn’t understand or learn from reading. Because they never read outside of class assignments and never had.Five of us were appalled.

  3. 8 October, 2007 3:59 pm

    My advice on the collegial issue is to remain Switzerland in as determined a manner as possible. As for the 1/3 not turning in papers: I was pleased when I discovered that my institution actually has a requirement that students complete all assignments in order to pass the class. Otherwise, students enrolled pass/fail often would not take the final exam. Anyway, even if your institution does not have such a rule, I would recommend instituting it yourself, placing it prominently on future syllabi.

  4. 8 October, 2007 4:23 pm

    squadratomagico — The reality is that the students will do very badly if they don’t turn in all the assignments. I just don’t get it, though.Jonathan — sounds actually not all that bad — except the part where you’re really busy! But at least it sounds like you are still being productive 😉 Go you!

  5. 8 October, 2007 10:29 pm

    My earlier message about remaining Switzerland was lost. It’s advice I don’t follow, of course.I spent a weekend with my colleagues at faculty meetings and have been busy getting a conference program final text together. Never a dull moment. Wish I had a trip to fabulous European Capital to look forward to!

  6. 8 October, 2007 11:14 pm

    But aren’t you already in Fabulous Place, Susan?

  7. 9 October, 2007 6:41 pm

    Since you called me “nice”, don’t worry so much about your book review deadline as your other stuff. (Tearing in gratitude).

  8. 9 October, 2007 6:47 pm

    HI NBR! No tears necessary! And I do have two midterms tomorrow during which I shall be reading said book 😉 But thanks!

  9. 9 October, 2007 10:54 pm

    Not sure that living in Shoreline, (not too far from Tenured Radical) constitutes Fabulous Place…I’ve been home from Fabulous Place for some time.

  10. 15 October, 2007 5:33 pm

    Hi ADR: since your place sounds SO MUCH like mine I’d think it was except that we haven’t hired a medievalist, I have to say the lack of writing among upper-division students (sadly) doesn’t surprise me. They do learn over time, especially if you are firm. And you have to teach them how to read. Oh well. There are really so many other, worse ways to earn a living. I remember that any time I begin to feel bad about it.

  11. 15 October, 2007 10:45 pm

    Yeah — It makes me sad, but at least I can see results!

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