Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What does he know, and how long will he know it?

First day of office hours. My prediction: no one comes

This always baffled me as an undergrad. I went to office hours a lot -- granted the TA or professor seemed like they knew what they were doing. But when I talk to others the general consensus is that office hours are a waste of time.

If someone can help you learn, how could that possibly be a waste of time.

The more I'm on campus and seeing students "learn", the more I have to agree with the professor I'm TA-ing for: students view education as a sport.

"My observations suggest that there is another metaphor that describes your mode of operation more closely," I said, "and that is sports. When you play a sport, your preparation reaches a crescendo just before a match (exam). If you win the match (exam), you get points (grades) in proportion to your placement. You keep track of those points, strategizing about how to get more next time. The match leaves no residue other than the points. At the end of college, you enter the working world with your overall standing (grade-point average) and little more. Your approach is certainly effective in getting the points that get you through college, but it is poor when it comes to getting an actual education."
Taken from "Just Scoring Points" by Walter Tschinkel. Published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

It's just sort of sad. I mean, you're paying for the education -- don't you want to actually remember it??

I'm not completely naive, however, I do realize that some TA's/professors are a little off-putting in their attitudes towards their students. Many also have terrible attitudes towards the educational system but don't strive to change the problem starting with their own class.

I'm just striving to be different.

Still no students since when I started. They have a little under an hour left to come before I get on with my day outside of this office. I'm a little under the weather so I'd like to just crawl into my bed and read my papers instead of staying here.

Oh and the title for this post comes from this New Yorker cartoon (gotta love 'em!) courtesy of Frank Cotham. Too true, too true.



Anonymous said...

Just to show that I've been here, read that.
Actually, I enjoy reading your blog. I know you're busy and can't post often but I like it when you do.
Aunt Patty

Bonicita said...

Thanks! Yeah, I think I'll be posting most Tuesdays (hopefully!) since that's when I have office hours to twittle away :/

It's nice knowing someone is reading what I'm writing :D