dondigitalia

It just keeps getting better...

9 posts in this topic

My English class that's not an English class has reached a new level of ridiculousness. I've never witnessed anything this outrageous in my life. I feel like I'm living in a satire.

Today the professor actually said, outright, that she would sooner give the death penalty to those who commit corporate crimes, such as (her examples) insider trading, fraud & embezzlement, tax-evasion, and establishing trusts, than murderers, rapists, and child molestors. Of course, being the outspoken kind of guy that I am, I immediately responded with, "I can't even believe I just heard those words come out of your mouth. That is absolutely ridiculous." She asked why, so I told her it was completely unjust and pointed out that she had expressed agreement with me in the last class that many corporate crimes shouldn't even be crimes. She said, "I still don't think they should be crimes, but since they are people get convicted of them, and convicting them takes a lot more of the public's money than convicting a rapist."

So then I stole some words from THE FORUM: "That's so outrageous, I don't even know where to begin. All I can say is wow. Wow."

It didn't stop there. She went on to say that she had been considering lately whether or not the government should force women who are on welfare to have abortions (she completely ignored my suggestion to just get rid of welfare), say that noone under 18 shoud ever be tried as an adult for any crime whatsoever, regardless of the juvenile's level of cognitive responsibility. At one point I asked if she was being sarcastic. She assured me she was being completely serious.

When I pointed out how unjust that is, she said, "No it's not," so I asked her to define justice. Her response: "Justice is such a broad term, how can anybody ever define it?" "I can." And I did. Blank out.

At first, I was just a little irritated and itching to rebutt, but after about 10 minutes of discussion, once the full context sunk in, I was furious. These are the things this woman is saying to her other classes--to impressionable 18-year-old kids. At the same time that all of us here are working to improve the culture, she is working to destroy it.

And the worst part is: I'm paying for it. Man, I can't wait until I give my evaluation at the end of the semester.

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Man, I can't wait until I give my evaluation at the end of the semester.

I'm not that surprised at hearing those views voiced by your teacher, but that those views are voiced in lieu of teaching the subject matter of the course, that is pathetic beyond reason.

You are obviously not ingratiating yourself to your teacher with your criticism of her views, and it seems as if she is not open to reason anyway, so I wonder what would happen if you took a different tact and just asked, in a nice manner, what connection does the discussion have to the subject matter of the course. I suspect everyone in your class, and, most especially you, would be better off if she just taught English instead of having these general bull sessions.

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I've tried that before. She said that her goal in the class was to teach us how to think critically; of course, she isn't really doing that, either, and there's already another class offered called Critical Thinking, in the Philosophy department, where it belongs.

You know, the strange thing is, my consistent opposition to her has actually endeared me to her, and she hasn't been grading me based on our opposing views, so I plan to continue arguing the other side. I can't just sit back and watch while she spews this trash to a bunch of kids at the most impressionable time of their lives. The number of them who have approached me after class to ask questions about the things I've said make the effort more than worth it.

Another question that came to mind: do the evaluations students give to professors really make any difference?

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Another thing: I think part of the reason she hasn't been teaching anything actually related to English is that she's probably not sufficiently qualified for it. Her degrees are all in German.

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Another question that came to mind: do the evaluations students give to professors really make any difference?

It depends on the teacher and the school. If the teacher and/or the department head see the results and care, they can advise and make adjustments. Also, if the general ratings are made available to students -- some universities publish the data online -- then it can be a factor for those students who have a choice of course and section. But, if the teacher solely see the ratings and doesn't care, then obviously evaluations are useless.

In your case, considering your teacher, if nothing else I suspect an evaluation will be like a catharsis for you. :wacko:

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In your case, considering your teacher, if nothing else I suspect an evaluation will be like a catharsis for you.  :wacko:

True enough. Just like telling my roommates all about it, and just like posting here. Complaining might not do very much to solve the problem, but it sure does make you feel a hell of a lot better about knowing the problem exists.

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Another question that came to mind: do the evaluations students give to professors really make any difference?
Yes and no. If there is a discernable negative trend, that can be a problem. Assuming that they use a quantitative evaluation, they probably compute a class mean for various questions (there is usually an "overall" question, which counts the most). If there are enough low marks and few enough high marks, someone may notice. If you get a somewhat low score with a bimodal distribution, that's just written off as a bunch of crackpots. Whether an instructor personally cares about evaluations is a random guess. The administration may care (the chair or the dean), and a robust pattern of negative evaluation can lead to denying promotion, tenure, or non-renewal of contract depending on the position and institution, since they are almost universally a part of how an instructor is evaluated. A smaller, select undergraduate-oriented institution would care the most, I think, and a factory school or graduate research oriented institution would care the least. YMMV, as always. If you can construct a strong argument that the teaching has done something wrong, in the form of a letter, then sending a letter of protest to the instructor, chair and dean (addressed to the instructor, cc'd to the higher administration) would be most effective. You should wait until the class is over, and you better get an A- at the least, for this to work. It's trivial to check the "stinker" box; it's non-trivial to write a well-reasoned letter.

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If you can construct a strong argument that the teaching has done something wrong, in the form of a letter, then sending a letter of protest to the instructor, chair and dean (addressed to the instructor, cc'd to the higher administration) would be most effective. You should wait until the class is over, and you better get an A- at the least, for this to work. It's trivial to check the "stinker" box; it's non-trivial to write a well-reasoned letter.

Thanks for the advice; I think I'll do just that. Getting an A is no sweat in this class.

She is adjunct, and has said that the dean doesn't particularly like her (she has recounted conflicts with him to the class, which I find extremely unprofessional), and that she has been interviewing at the City College.

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