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Author Topic: Bang Your Head on Your Desk - the thread of teaching despair!  (Read 2367005 times)
baleful_regards
Imperfect Uncertainty: Guardian of indecision is a
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My magical seagull regards you balefully /\0/\


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« Reply #6795 on: November 07, 2012, 8:34:58 pm »

Good grief, Scotia. They're not going to get far in grad school like that. I hope.

I don't even know if this belongs on this thread, but: I'm teaching an upper-level class in which we are, at the moment, reading a selection of Caribbean literature. As one might imagine, the topic of race has been part of our discussions. I have this one student who is very energetic but problematic in various ways, and who likes to connect anything we discuss to the fact that his girlfriend is from <an African country> and black, and he has learned sooooo much from her about black people (he, and the rest of the students in the class, are white, as am I). Today, he told me that he would like to bring his girlfriend to class for "show and tell" so that everyone else could ask her questions about black people and learn from her as he has done.

I tried to explain why this was probably not a good idea, and indeed, offensive, but he seemed unconvinced.

Is it wrong that I don't have high hopes for the future of that relationship?

Also, is it the end of the semester yet?

It's too bad "White Boy with Black Girlfriend" (WBBG) does not ask his girlfriend to come to his all-male parties to tell all the guys how all the women in the world think, feel, and believe. Because, I KNOW all women think alike, as do all Black people, White people, Asian people, etc.

It seems like perhaps you should ask Girlfriend to come to the class and explain just how frustrating it is to be required to represent ALL people like you, as if you are all members of ONE entity, and one entity only, as well as being one great big stereotype. Then, she should ask WBBG when he can come to a Women's Studies class and/or her home to try to explain, exactly, how ALL WBBGs in the world think, feel, and believe.

I would pay money to be a fly on the wall in your classroom on that day... :)

Oh.

Oh Dear.

What a patient girlfriend.
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Trouble comes to everyone who dares to be a muse.
emdashed
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« Reply #6796 on: November 08, 2012, 5:43:41 pm »

I just had a student ask me, during class, if I had any training in teaching and in the subject I teach. A professor told him that the people who teach in my program are TAs, not real instructors, and if that is the case, why does the university make them take classes with people who aren't real teachers. Well then.
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frogfactory
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« Reply #6797 on: November 08, 2012, 6:26:47 pm »

I just had a student ask me, during class, if I had any training in teaching and in the subject I teach. A professor told him that the people who teach in my program are TAs, not real instructors, and if that is the case, why does the university make them take classes with people who aren't real teachers. Well then.

Beats me.
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At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to masturbate in the bathroom.
theblondeassassin
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« Reply #6798 on: November 08, 2012, 6:39:04 pm »

I just had a student ask me, during class, if I had any training in teaching and in the subject I teach. A professor told him that the people who teach in my program are TAs, not real instructors, and if that is the case, why does the university make them take classes with people who aren't real teachers. Well then.

"Well, student, it was this or McDonald's fry chef down at the jobs centre, and some other guy beat me to the McJob."
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mfaeer
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« Reply #6799 on: November 08, 2012, 7:19:50 pm »

I just had a student ask me, during class, if I had any training in teaching and in the subject I teach. A professor told him that the people who teach in my program are TAs, not real instructors, and if that is the case, why does the university make them take classes with people who aren't real teachers. Well then.

Ouch.
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heynonnynonnymouse
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« Reply #6800 on: November 08, 2012, 7:30:55 pm »

I just had a student ask me, during class, if I had any training in teaching and in the subject I teach. A professor told him that the people who teach in my program are TAs, not real instructors, and if that is the case, why does the university make them take classes with people who aren't real teachers. Well then.

Speaking as a grad TA, I empathize with the question. TAs at my department are not trained in pedagogy and are often discouraged from "wasting time" seeking out such training outside the department.

Undergrads wondering such things have a point.
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nezahualcoyotl
Professor of Cruel and Unusual Basketweaving
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« Reply #6801 on: November 08, 2012, 8:49:57 pm »

I just had a student ask me, during class, if I had any training in teaching and in the subject I teach. A professor told him that the people who teach in my program are TAs, not real instructors, and if that is the case, why does the university make them take classes with people who aren't real teachers. Well then.

Speaking as a grad TA, I empathize with the question. TAs at my department are not trained in pedagogy and are often discouraged from "wasting time" seeking out such training outside the department.

Undergrads wondering such things have a point.

As a former TA, I agree with you. The international TAs had to take a test to show we could teach (this after passing a test of spoken English), but the Americans were assumed to be able to teach. In any case, the department didn't provide any real training in teaching. I had some teaching experience (and, after all, I'd passed the teaching test), but nobody even asked about that and I'm sure there was a number of American TAs with no prior teaching experience who hadn't taken any kind of test and weren't given any training. So yeah, undergrads do have a point in wondering about that.
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'Education is like a venereal disease; it makes you unsuitable for many jobs, and then you have the urge to pass it on.'
-Terry Pratchett

I do solemnly swear to obey all the laws of thermodynamics.
emdashed
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« Reply #6802 on: November 08, 2012, 10:15:49 pm »

I guess I should make it clear that I am an instructor, not a TA. My email signature says "UrbanMA, Instructor, Dept of XYZ, University." There are no TAs at my school. There isn't a single person working at this university who doesn't know how my program is staffed (40 or so adjuncts, 90 percent of whom have MAs). It's a HUGE program and every single student passes through one or more of our classes. I told my students on day one that I am not a professor, I have an MA, not a PhD, so they can call me by my first name or Ms. UrbanMA. Ninety percent of students address instructors in this program as professor no matter what we tell them.

Whatever professor told this student he's taking a class from a TA was taking a cheap shot, and this student knew exactly what he was doing.
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cc_alan
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« Reply #6803 on: November 08, 2012, 10:23:10 pm »

I just had a student ask me, during class, if I had any training in teaching and in the subject I teach. A professor told him that the people who teach in my program are TAs, not real instructors, and if that is the case, why does the university make them take classes with people who aren't real teachers. Well then.

"Huh. That was a fvcking stupid thing for that professor to tell you. And since I told you on the first day that I have an MA, that was a fvcking stupid thing for you to ask me.

Do you have any actual questions or just another fvcking stupid comment to pull out of your a$$?"

Hmm... too much?

Alan
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Guess what? I got a fever and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!
emdashed
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« Reply #6804 on: November 08, 2012, 10:31:54 pm »

I just had a student ask me, during class, if I had any training in teaching and in the subject I teach. A professor told him that the people who teach in my program are TAs, not real instructors, and if that is the case, why does the university make them take classes with people who aren't real teachers. Well then.

"Huh. That was a fvcking stupid thing for that professor to tell you. And since I told you on the first day that I have an MA, that was a fvcking stupid thing for you to ask me.

Do you have any actual questions or just another fvcking stupid comment to pull out of your a$$?"

Hmm... too much?

Alan

Perhaps too much, but the only thing that's made me smile today, so thank you anyway.
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gennimom
Somewhat Southern (Have I really posted that much?)
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Let's get summer over with! Me want snow!


« Reply #6805 on: November 09, 2012, 1:49:02 am »

Heh. When I WAS a TA, I taught a lab after having been required to go through a 2 day workshop for TAs. I was bored to tears as I had taught for 10 years at the high school level. I saw many other people go through that workshop who couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag. I thought it was sad.


It was kind of funny though. I had a student in my lab ask me if I had taught at *such and such* School District. When I said yes, he said, "I thought your name was familiar. My dad is the superintendent there." At that, I thought he might be a good student. No such luck. He never opened his emails (as a matter of fact, I couldn't send him any as his box was full), and couldn't be bothered to turn in homework.

*sigh*
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...only after reading gm's post, my new mantra is "always listen to gennimom".
Monday reeks! - Garfield
The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person (or something like that).
ptarmigan
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« Reply #6806 on: November 09, 2012, 1:53:00 am »

We have a required 3 credit hour course about teaching in our discipline, but in practice the class is really "how to survive your first semester as a TA / grad student" - there is very little pedgagogy involved but a lot of stuff about how to grade, figure out final grades, manage the classroom, write a syllabus, and that kind of thing.
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He's on my roster, but if I've taught him anything, it isn't math.
frogfactory
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« Reply #6807 on: November 09, 2012, 3:26:20 am »

We have a required 3 credit hour course about teaching in our discipline, but in practice the class is really "how to survive your first semester as a TA / grad student" - there is very little pedgagogy involved but a lot of stuff about how to grade, figure out final grades, manage the classroom, write a syllabus, and that kind of thing.

We had a one credit online "course" (three reflective short essays.  And I mean *short*).  Apart from that, we had a one day workshop that was basically six hours of "do not sleep with your students".  It was not helpful for anyone who had never been in a US classroom.

Although I was initially asked to attend a "can you speak English?" interview, I was excused after sending back an outraged email.
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At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to masturbate in the bathroom.
gotmilk1
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« Reply #6808 on: November 09, 2012, 8:28:15 am »

I had to share this one - frustrating me beyond in. My class did an in class activity related to the course topic. They completed a survey (designed by my other class for their class project) and then collected a spit sample in a tube. Their subject ID number was provided. I had a slide telling them to put their subject ID number on the survey. I said it in class. I told them three times not to put their name or student ID number ON ANYTHING because I did not feel it was appropriate for me to know their results - they should write down the subject ID number if they wanted personal results. THREE of 16 surveys came back with student ID numbers - and I have no way of linking them to their tube now, so they will not get results.
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kiana
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« Reply #6809 on: November 09, 2012, 9:23:08 am »

We have a required 3 credit hour course about teaching in our discipline, but in practice the class is really "how to survive your first semester as a TA / grad student" - there is very little pedgagogy involved but a lot of stuff about how to grade, figure out final grades, manage the classroom, write a syllabus, and that kind of thing.

We had a one credit online "course" (three reflective short essays.  And I mean *short*).  Apart from that, we had a one day workshop that was basically six hours of "do not sleep with your students".  It was not helpful for anyone who had never been in a US classroom

You guys got more than we did. We got a 15 minute practicum and half an hour of 'do not sleep with your students.' Other than that, it was 'this is basic math, you can figure it out.'

Of course, the professor I was working for also told the students on the first day of class 'and you're in luck, your TA actually speaks English.'
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If robbers ever broke into my house to search for money, I'd just laugh and search with them.
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