18 May 2014

Rate My Professor? Hah!

The semester has ended; the book is concluded and in production (The Classroom: Encounter and Engagement); the essay has been published (http://journal.jctonline.org/index.php/jct); the book chapter (“Neither They Nor Their Reward”) is submitted; and the final invited chapter, due in mid-June (almost three years early!), is nearing an acceptable form. And along with all of that good news, as I gaze out of my windows, there is Spring. Well, at least for today: this is, after all, Wisconsin!
And so in my temporary distraction I discovered this tidbit. A student from this past semester posted the following on the website, RatemyProfessors (http://www.ratemyprofessors.com):
I barely read the articles, did none of the book reading, and submitted very poor attempted writing responses to the readings and still managed an A-. He just makes you feel stressed, but as long as you submit all of the work and go to every class, you will receive an A. Just make sure the final paper is really good.
This would be scanned: Here is a rating supposedly of the professor (c’est moi!), in which the rater pronounces that though there were articles and books to be read, s/he didn’t do the reading; and that though there were papers to be written, s/he produced only ‘poorly attempted efforts; nevertheless, the grade was still an A-. And this comment was meant as a rating of the professor who was, as I have said, c’est moi! But I think that the only subject evaluated here was the student who proudly announced that s/he had done no work, attempted to learn nothing, and still reaped what has to be an absolutely meaningless grade. Well, I suppose, as all grades are absolutely meaningless.
And of what might the stress of the student have consisted? Given the work the student didn’t accomplish¾seemingly didn’t even attempt¾ I suppose the stress might have arisen as a result of the guilt the situation the student felt having arrived every day unprepared for class. And I might suspect that a great deal of the stress derives from the shame of having assumed and enacted such a false self. “Who goes there?” Shakespeare’s Hamlet begins, and alas, for this student, the question remains apt. But no, anyone oblivious enough to self-disclose as did the student above, probably suffers no guilt or shame. 
            Ignorance always will out. Even in the highest of echelons, stupidity becomes readily visible. Look at the second Bush administration: I mean, there was a man who spoke proudly of his poor grades as an accomplishment and with the same pride as did the student above boast of her/his lack of effort.
           And what was gained and what was lost?


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