I have recently had to submit overall midterm grades for one of the schools where I adjunct…highest grade in the class? 92.5… lowest? 2.5. There IS something to be said for attending class and turning in work after all. Really.
I posted this comment to my Facebook and received a couple of comments from friends, professors, PhDs, professionals in their given fields. And there was a response from a new Facebook friend. She basically criticized –lambasted us for being critical, ok a little snide, about the student with the 2.5 average. Someone commented that said student needs to brush up on how to ask…Would you like fries with that? Another, commented that there is very little way a student with a 2.5 average in Composition would be allowed to deal with the public directly. That sort of grade requires such apathy, apathy that would make the American electorate looks absolutely engaged. Said former Facebook friend suggested that we were being “smart” — well ok college professors and professionals… She implied that being smart was a bad thing. She went on to say my friends were being rude, making assumptions about his issue, we were, in her eyes, arrogant and pompous…
Needless to say, I was forced to respond….
I don’t think anyone assumed anything here, as the original post inferred that no work was being done: “There IS something to be said for attending class and turning in work…”
And the implication that he will be serving fries, or not even able to get a job doing so isn’t far from the money. It is statistically proven that ON AVERAGE, a high school graduate will annually earn what a college graduate pays in taxes.
That is scary. And many “smart people” feel obligated to point that out. Do your school work, finish school, earn a living wage. Be smart.
I don’t know when being smart, or bookish became such a bad thing in this country, but it has. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that if you are smart and bookish, you don’t know anything about living life in the real world. And that’s just silly. Educators are not in that pesky troublesome 1%, we aren’t even high up in the 99%. We, as a group, know how to rob Peter to pay Paul. In today’s world many of us are children of the seventies, ok it’s a blur, but whatever. To teach one has to remain intimately connected to the real world.
I have been ACCUSED of being both smart and bookish, as though it is a bad thing. And it makes me angry. Smart bookish people have been teaching children to read, write, do math, know about the past… It takes smart people to be educators. When you take smart out of the equation bad things happen. The people of Texas edit history, eliminate slavery, minimize the import of Thomas Jefferson in American History.
Christopher Columbus becomes a hero while Americo Vespuchi is lost to all but the smart bookish people.
I find that I am obligated to bring into the classroom many things beyond video games, sports, and family guy. I have over 100 students, and last week less than half of them knew there was an election this year. And of that half, none was aware that there were debates going on, never-mind have any idea who was running.
None of them knew that we had officially withdrawn from Iraq, or that Iran had successfully launched a nuclear missile. None of them knew that our neighbor to the south, Mexico, had 13,000 people die in gang related drug wars in 2011. They had no idea that there was a massive earthquake off the coast of Sumatra last week — or WHY that would be so devastating to the people there, they had no idea there had been a horrific tsunami there some years ago.
Yes, smart people, educators, can be smart asses. We are charged with informing the population, giving them the tools to survive in today’s fast paced world… And when one of those students blows off what we work so hard to give… It isn’t the student who should be criticized? In The United States, it is always the fault of the educator–because it was the JOB and somehow the educator failed. A teacher cannot fail for a student who doesn’t even bother to show up for class or turn in work done IN class.
What that logic leads to is students unfit for work at McDonalds and frustrated educators. It leads to a population that thinks it is uncool to know what is going on in the world around them…
It leads to a population that thinks that just because you are in academia, you have no clue what is going on in the real world… That is utter nonsense. Dangerous nonsense. One of the groups that was targeted early by the Nazis was academics–intellectuals — because they were smart, because they looked at the world critically and thought about what was happening around them.
I, for one, hope that in this country smart people are revered — because they are the people that will carry us into the future. I would rather be surrounded by smart people with attitude, than people who don’t care enough about themselves and the world in which they live to be qualified to serve fries at McDonalds.