Tag Archives: student life

January 26, 2010, 9:44 am

A school for grown-ups

My 6-year old is in kindergarten and fascinated by school and schoolteachers. Last week she asked me: “Daddy, are you a teacher?” I told her I was. “What’s your school?” I told her I teach at a college. “What’s a college?” I told her: “A college is a school for grown-ups.” And in that off-the-cuff answer, we have an economical way of describing the difference between college and pre-college education, and of encapsulating the hopes and goals of higher education.

College students, even the wide-eyed freshmen who show up every fall, are not kids. They are emerging adults, having worked 12 years for a high school education and who now enter a 4-5 year buffer zone before entering into the world with nothing more than the things they know, the experiences they’ve had, and the people around them. Therefore we college professors aren’t serving students if we treat them like kids, refer to …

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May 18, 2009, 4:56 am

A prayer for those taking final exams (bumped)

We’ve finally made it to final exams week in the second semester of what seemed like the longest academic year ever. I thought I would bump this old post from December 11, 2005 (original with comments here) to give props and encouragement to all the students out there who are getting ready for their exams.

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(Inspired by seeing so many students on AIM tonight studying for finals, which for us start tomorrow.)

Dear Lord:
Let those who are filling the library right now with their bodies and their thoughts
Study hard, but also eventually rest.
Let them realize that success on their exams comes
Not from pulling allnighters
Not from cramming
Not from losing sleep
But as the sweet fruits of a long semester
Of diligence, patience, humility, and sweat
Of losing themselves in the laborious doing
That comes when a long-held dream is finally pursued.
Let them know that …

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February 26, 2008, 9:59 pm

Student evaluations again

One of the reasons I brought up the notion of getting rid of our current conception of student evaluations is that I’ve had too many courses in which things seems to be going just fine during the semester, and then I get comments on student course evaluations about things that I cannot even recognize as having happened in the class. Something minor happens, for example, in week 5, and it goes unchecked, and grows ineffably until what the student sees is some huge shortcoming on the course’s part — on my part — and I get hammered on the evaluations for it, even though when I read the written comments I cannot even usually fathom what it is the student is referencing.

So this semester I decided that I needed to do something about this, namely just simply paying more attention every week to how students are doing, generally, in my classes. Especially in the freshman classes, where the…

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