Category Archives: Rate Your Students

October 23, 2013, 6:52 pm

Attachment Problems; or, The Accidental Selfie

The_Seven_Year_Itch_(Marilyn_Monroe's_skirt_blows_up)You know those times when you are floating your mouse over something and click by mistake? The Des Moines Register reports that a University of Iowa TA mistakenly sent nude pictures of herself to her students. Wouldn’t you know it: she’s a mathematician, a field in which women have a hard time anyway.

Whoever you are, I am so sorry.

Of course the students started tweeting about it immediately, the sensitive little darlings, making the situation ever so much worse. According to the Register,

A student tweeted, “The TA was teaching her 7:30 discussion session this morning trying to act like nothing happened but [was] clearly very rattled. No one said anything about it but it was just extremely awkward.”

“Breaking News: An Iowa TA accidentally emailed naked pictures of herself to 80+ students instead of the study guide,” read one student’s tweet.

Another tweeted: “A math…

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September 24, 2011, 11:29 am

Forget the SATs. How Many Days Did Your Students Drink Last Week?

The beginning of the semester is always a time for reassessment, isn’t it?  SAT scores, we hear, despite endless amounts of testing mandated by No Child Left Behind, have declined.  Unsurprisingly, Daniel Luzer of the HuffPo thinks this is not a problem; William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, thinks this is a “wake-up call” about the failure of liberal education policy; and no one, as far as I can tell, has asked a college professor whether it matters. Why we think that test scores should get better and better, and when they don’t, an apocalypse of some kind looms, is such a quintessentially American scenario.   While SAT’s do, to some extent, predict college performance; high school grades predict it better; and success in a demanding and creative school is even higher on the Radical list, my best criteria for student success is: drinking.

I don’t…

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January 11, 2011, 5:06 pm

If I Could Stick My Pen In My Heart/And Spill It All Over the Stage: Teaching Evaluations

If I could win ya, if I could sing ya
A love song so divine
Would it be enough for your cheating heart
If I broke down and cried? If I cried?
“It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It),” Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, 1974
In the past week or so, as many of us have been putting together classes for the new semester, teaching evaluations have arrived.  I suspect they arrive electronically at most places now, as that is substantially cheaper for the institution. At Zenith we switched over from a paper system, where students filled them out together in one of the final classes, to an online one in which they fill them out alone and receive access to their grade for the course only after having done so. Like everyone else, students are bowling alone.
But I like it, like it, yes I do.  Photo credit.
I have thought for years that fall teaching evaluations, received as the promise of the new spring…

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January 18, 2009, 3:49 pm

“Magnificent Wind:”* In Which The Radical Begins Receiving Excuses From Her Students Even Before The Term Begins

Yesterday I, and a number of other colleagues who work at Zenith and other colleges, began to receive a steady stream of emails from students. They said some version of the following: “Hey, Professor, I am going to Barack’s inauguration and won’t make it back in time for class on Wednesday afternoon. I am sure you support my presence at this historic event. Hope this is ok — let me know if it isn’t, (signed) Siouxsie Q.”** I had several crabby, middle-aged responses to the emails I received, including:

“Hay is for horses” (I had a kindergarten teacher back in 1964 who was fond of this one.)

“If I am not going to the inauguration because I have a prior commitment to be at school to advise you on Tuesday, and teach you on Wednesday, why shouldn’t you actually have some commitment to be there and receive these services?” As the Mother of the Radical (MOTheR), a font of wisdom on matter…

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January 8, 2009, 2:38 pm

The Radical’s History Reviewed: When I Was Bad, I Was Horrid

Mostly because they have been linked by my history colleague Historiann, I have of late been drawn to the luridly enraged and cruelly hilarious posts at Rate Your Students. A blog response to the notorious, RYS, from my point of view, is a kind of academic pornography: it’s outrageous, and it relies on cruel caricatures of students that have enough truth in them to make them universally recognizable — the terrible students described at this blog can be found at a community college, an Ivy, or any stop in between. It doesn’t stop at pillorying undergraduates, but produces the occasional post that skewers graduate students for being whining, careless little piss-ants.

You will notice that RYS is not on the list of blogs I follow regularly (see widget on the left), but in fact I do follow it regularly from a bookmarked link in my Safari navbar. While there are many …

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