Friday, November 02, 2007
Dear Students,
Ever since I read this post by the Tenured Radical, I've been thinking about things I wish you knew. The pedagogical relationship between student and teacher is a complicated one--constantly ebbing and flowing, loving and hating, teaching and learning.

1. Students teach me things. They teach me about pop culture, university happenings, and new interpretations on old texts that I read a long time ago. Importantly, they also teach me about the barometer of our culture. Often when I leave class, I feel energized by the potential that my students show as activists and people. I don't think professors remind their students how much we learn from them. Further, many professors aren't open to learning from their students.

2. I like when you stay after class to tell me a funny story or further develop an idea you had in class. I really like it when you come early or stay late and show me an anti-feminist e-mail you've received or an empowering video on Youtube. It makes me feel like you're learning and it really makes me realize how much thinking you're doing. I love my job. I love coming to class. I love being with you. I love talking about my discipline. As such, I love when you do the same. Never hesitate to send me an e-mail or have a conversation with me!

3. I have a life outside of class and I like when students realize this--mainly because it makes me feel human. But also because it then means you don't e-mail me at 1 am and expect an immediate response.

4. When we happen to stumble across one another outside school, it is okay to say hi or give a friendly wave. It is not okay to buy me a drink. It is definitely not okay to gossip about me to fellow classmates.

5. I know that there are days you aren't reading. I know that you may fail a quiz or test. But I know that you are smart and capable. You don't have to explain yourself or beg for my forgiveness. Everyone has bad days at work. When good students do poorly on an assignment, I assume you're having a bad day.

6. I'm proud when you have a school related scholarship. I do not, however, see it as my responsibility to maintain that scholarship. I will provide you with every imaginable opportunity to learn, excel and achieve. If you do not take advantage of those opportunities, I will give you a bad grade. The default grade is not an A. I assume a certain amount of "average" in each student. When you prove you are above average, you will receive above average grades.

7. I have 80+ students this semester. I know ALL of your names. I expect you to know (and spell correctly) my last name. Consider it good practice for the workforce.

That's my list...I've been ruminating about it for the past couple weeks.

And then I watched THIS video and realized that sometimes pedagogical goals need to be larger than the semester at hand. This guy really gets me. I love me a good teacher! I love how he starts out talking about "enabling the dreams of others." Isn't that the heart of a good teacher?

And my question to my teacher blogging friends is--what lessons do you want your students to know? Feel free to post in the comments.....



Blogger Kourtney said...

Yes, but do you say ALL of the names correctly?!?!?! ;)

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