March 6th, 2012

za_lee: (kurogane blush)
I suppose the fact that I'm up thinking about teaching woes instead of drowning myself in some extended un-promising narrative is a sign that my master plan to re-integrate (the temporality of this word choice is suspect) into RL via taking on highly un-rewarding but very "the ways things are" type teaching is part success (other parts include narcissism and self-pity).

there are so many things I didn't know about this gig. well, some of it I knew but didn't know (like Swimming vs. swimming...damn you Kierkegaard...). I know some of you out there are teachers and "splendid adults" as they say, so please forgive this epic fail at getting over oneself...but man do I feel vulnerable and helpless when I reflect on my time in front of the classroom sometimes.

here's what's got me down. plagiarism/cheating. man. if this isn't ever a problem. i think having a language issue in many of my classes (many of my students are international students from China) and also different cultures of pedagogical treatment (being expected to crank out formulaic answers vs. being expected to say something original etc.) might contribute to this issue...but since two cases came to light, transforming what formerly seemed like just an unfortunate possibility into a pressurized inevitability, every paper seems shady as hell. they smack of google translate of random blog commentary...students who couldn't articulate an opinion about The Matrix (i don't teach this) suddenly are talking about psychoanalytical theory (nor this)...the same sentence patterns and structures keep appearing among clusters of papers...and i'm so tired from trying to discern between fob English (and trust me, i'm reasonably fluent at this), well-intentioned uses of reference material, readings generally endorsed by the communist state (these are chinese lit courses), and flat-out whackness.

thinking back to high school, I know it may be privileged, at worst un-mindful, and more innocuously just naive to think that teaching ought not to include things like policing and, I mean this in the most general way, parenting (even though this is never really part of any job description and certainly not what attracts me to a profession in education). and no, i have no personal investment in essential notions of adulthood versus childhood and what forms of behavior or formal elements of presentation should come with (although standards of formal elements of presentation and behavior seem to be key to classroom effectiveness and general efficiency/progress)...but as far as I know, we haven't yet reached the point of cynicism where college is just a glorified/extremely expensive kind of daycare to put disaffected youth...have we?

(says friend: go read some zetsubo-sensei and you'll be fine)

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