How did I know this dumbass teaches in the Northeast?

Well, it might have been that he or she inflicts Said on freshmen students who don’t have any of the intellectual tools and context by which to judge the author’s arguments… but besides that, the Atlantic’s editors should be ashamed of publishing this turkey.  It’s yet another angst-ridden post about whether students going to community college should be here, after all, by a teacher who should never have been hired in the first place.

I knew that Ms. L.’s paper would fail. I knew it that first night in the library. But I couldn’t tell her that she wasn’t ready for an introductory English class.

You’ve got a 40-something woman who’s come to you for help who has never used a computer before, and you say “go get some help?”  Hey, asshole, that’s what she came to you for.  And this is why, Professor X, who, by the way…

Professor X teaches at a private college and at a community college in the northeastern United States.

is going to remain a goddamned adunct and keep teaching at multiple colleges, because you fundamentally fail to recognize that you have to tailor your instruction to the audience.  It’s dirt damned obvious that this loser is going at the community college students with the same methodology as is being used in the private college.  And that’s a crying damned shame, because, what this editorial largely provides an utterly damning indictment of the Professor’s own professional shortcomings.

My students take English 101 and English 102 not because they want to but because they must. Both colleges I teach at require that all students, no matter what their majors or career objectives, pass these two courses. For many of my students, this is difficult. Some of the young guys, the police-officers-to-be, have wonderfully open faces across which play their every passing emotion, and when we start reading “Araby” or “Barn Burning,” their boredom quickly becomes apparent. They fidget; they prop their heads on their arms; they yawn and sometimes appear to grimace in pain, as though they had been tasered. Their eyes implore: How could you do this to me?

Hey, dumbass.  How, in fact, could you?  You know, for a fact, that you’re boring your students to tears.  Ever thought of maybe sprucing it up a little, or teaching the curriculum in a way that gets through to folks who happen to be kinesthetic types, rather than bookworms? Which doesn’t mean you dumb down the curriculum… it means that you get off your ass and learn to teach.

Pathetic.  If this instructor is full-time at the private institution, he or she should stay there, and not ruin any more students than is absolutely necessary.

Leave a comment


  1. Mike

     /  June 10, 2008

    I’d say this one touched a nerve. I fully agree. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that the teaching methods for a private school and a CC should not be the exact same methods. Because if everyone could get into a Private school why would we have CCs in the first place? Right, sorry for the blatently obvious comment there but I had to say it.

    Hell, I am doing that in MY job (as in tailoring to the interests). I have six LTs whom I am conducting short battle studies with every week. I’ve got a guy attending the SF Q Course, 2 prior service OCS grads, one brand new 2nd LT, and two branch detail signal corps LTs (both women). Different types of interests? Oh hell yeah. But I can do it.

    And if I can do it, this apprarently “highly educated” person shouldn’t have any problems.

    Maybe she should use “The Bear Went Over The Mountain” for her English class?

  2. Hell, Mike, I’d take that class… I know dick about Soviet small-unit tactics, and it’d be nice to see how US/NATO lessons-learned might be different from those drawn by the Frunze staff.

  3. Mike

     /  June 10, 2008

    Yeah, I am able to keep everyone interested given the fact that the town names are the same as keep popping up in the news. And that is exactly how we approach it. I make them look up all the stuff the Soviets used and how they used it and then force them to apply US ideas.

    ASA baby.

    I also helps that I put the branch thing on. “Okay Signal officers, here is a situation where the commo totally failed. What would YOU have done?”

    I mean really, know your audience and apply some critical thinking.

  4. Zathras

     /  June 11, 2008

    Unfortunately, at many CC’s, getting tenure has nothing to do with teaching ability. If you follow the rules and do a little committee work, you get the tenure. Teaching skills are irrelevant.

    And reaching those people with kinetic learning styles? You ask someone about this in an Education school, and you get a blank stare back. They don’t even know what you’re talking about.

  5. Anna

     /  June 11, 2008

    That’s ridiculous, Z. They taught that to me in a course about ADMIN skills at the company I work for, for pity’s sake. A sad state of education indeed.

  6. uh… what’s a kinetic learning style: is that like, “learn calculus by working the problems” or such?

  7. happycrow

     /  June 11, 2008

    A kinesthetic learner has to move around in order to learn. In other words, you have to give them the ability to do so. They’re the ones who you see kinda dancing about as they’re writing on the chalkboard, figuring out where they’re going as they write.

  8. Andrew Reyna

     /  June 12, 2008

    Making the material interesting definitely doesn’t make people interested, nor does changing a teaching style. From my observation as a student, I have seen that the people, for the most part, whom aren’t interested in the material, aren’t interested in being in class at all.

  9. Zathras

     /  June 12, 2008

    It is true that some of the students might not be reachable by any teaching style. It is the utter condescension with which this teacher talks about his students that is the most bothersome to me.

  10. happycrow

     /  June 12, 2008

    Ding-ding. Give Zathras a prize. The author of this screed doesn’t even bother to take the basic steps, instead blaming the students.

    Lots of folks aren’t interested in the material, or even the course. I have *one* actually-interested student, on average, in each of my courses. That’s because, as much as we’re reading in a nerd rich environments, nerds are a social minority.

  11. Yeah, it’s fun to learn somethng when you already know the stuff being taught. Not exactly what you’d want as a teacher, though.

  12. Andrew Reyna

     /  June 15, 2008

    I wish I understood that video a bit more than I did.


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