1. This is a real email/letter that was sent.You've made good points and I appreciate your honesty. I try not to be a selfish, egoistic or a merciless person, if I have erred then I have erred. The fact that your willing to tell me how, more or less resolves the issue. Had you not been as definite with me, I would have pushed this further.
The reason for absence to your class specifically was the I worked from 10pm to 6am then would try to sleep as short as possible in order to see a girl between waking and going to your class. I could only see her at that time, because her Parents are fanatic evangelicals and since she contracted a heart illness about 9 months back, they put a prohibition on her seeing me because they are afraid she is going to die and go to hell or something for being with a 'non-believer'. So I had to sneak in during the two days when her Mom wasn't home. Unfortunately I would sometimes fall asleep there, or often she would beg me to stay as we hardly got to see each other. At the end of the day, I had far more passion for being with her, than being in your class. That put the strain on my attendance in your class, so I hope you don't take it personally that I wasn't there, nor that I told you I was 'sick', as I don't really think telling you I was sneaking into an evangelical home to see a fatefully ill ex-girlfriend with religious extremist parents would have been appropriate or believable at the time. So I'm glad you cut me slack on the attendance policy because it was a bit complicated. Even without that aspect however, my attendance would have been lacking.
The problem is I hate University but I love learning. I hate University exactly for some of the reasons you have stated why my grade was a confusing choice. University favors bureaucracy not industry, it seems more often than not that Professors desire obedience rather than merit, or rather that obedience is confused for merit. In many classes there are those who work very hard but lack talent, and often they are favored in grading because they have put in so much effort over someone whose raw ability is better, even though their outcome is lesser. The objective always seems muddled to me, is the purpose of a class to improve your basic skill set or to execute the highest degree of dominance over a skill-set regardless of improvement? Is the purpose to 'try hardest' or to 'execute most successfully'?
I have faced this conundrum several times, and luckily I have gotten better at playing the game, but I've never respected it. Perhaps the worst example, was a 3000 level Spanish class I leap-frogged into at my last University, mind you I am a native speaker of Spanish. I recall reading the papers of my 'editing partner' and being unable to understand this caveman imitation of Iberia's most important language. At the end of it however, she got an A and I got a C, despite the vast disparity in the quality of our work. Upon asking the Teacher why, the reasons stated were attendance and that I would just 'turn in assignments' without submitting prior 'outlines' and 'vocabulary search' along with them. At that time I was more detached and cared less, I simply stated to her 'why do I need such things if the point of the class writing papers not doing vocabulary crosswords.' This obviously didn't go well.
I've seen some justice though, I had a Biology professor that refused to accept a research paper from me because the binder was 'unaesthetic' and according to him "It was clearly stated that an aesthetic cover was part of the assignment." I told him plainly that I'm not a 13 year old girl with glue stick and glitter, the point of this class is Biology not getting an art badge in Brownie Scouts. The Teacher disliked me from long before, he confused my dispassion for arrogance and my detachment as an insult. I took it to the Dean, and he found that the Teacher's actions bordered on harassment. In the end, my grade was reversed from a D to an A, mostly because I got the highest grade in the class on the Final. Ironically, at UNO they didn't accept this Biology credit transfer.
Some might say these 'details' are well founded in industry and that doing an outline has an equivalent in industry. Perhaps, just as when you write a program you need to have supporting documentation. It's not entirely the same thing though, an outline is a supplement to aid in a result but it is a supplement no less, not the core of a project, while documentation is necessary for successful management of a program. If the capricious frivolities in academia do mimic any type of industry, they mimic corporations in over-regulated vertically-oppressed quixotic nations such as the one I am in right now. Here you have to get the social security number of every person you make a sale to, taxes start a 37% and there is a permit for anything you want to do. Otherwise the police come and throw you in jail for the societal equivalent of academic insubordination. However, these laws only apply to those who are successful enough to launch an enterprise by the book, for the rest of the 80% of the population who try 'really hard', the Government turns a blind eye to their black-market and gives them hand-outs taken from the taxes of the more successful. The reflects quite aptly the situation of intention over result present in academia at large, most commonly found in the Humanities, where the 'details' are largely capriciously invented by Teachers, while in the Sciences they are axioms determined by nature herself.
It's exactly for these reasons, I'm about a hair strand from just quitting college and focusing 150% on getting a job in my field and launching an enterprise. Why should I pay money for a bureaucratic beating? Why should I be chastised for not wanting to participate in class discussions with people who I otherwise wouldn't even speak to otherwise? Do I really gain anything of value from listening to a person so bereft of critical thinking that they give a presentation on why it is 'Christian' to support the 'death penalty' or when I'm forced to write papers supporting social agendas which I thoroughly oppose? I get nothing from it, just debt, frustration and lost time.
You state that my grade fell to a B due not to attendance but to mere lack of achievement in the 'details' of assignments in which I got A's in. I see reason in that, and I have no reason to believe you docked me points on those assignments simply for absences. I respect that I did not get the points on those assignments and had I not been at Carnaval and then my internship here in Bolivia, I would have conferenced with you before the end of class to have dealt with it. That was my responsibility.
The question however, is do those missed assignments reflect didactism, or are they simply the defects of the sub-conscious impulse to control? Does the fact that an annotated bibliography lacks 'similarity' clauses change the fact that the paper it was meant to support was well-researched enough to get an A? Does the fact that there was no idea outline drawing, change the fact that a well-organized nebula of ideas did exist in the paper? Was the purpose was to use the crutches that aid in writing in a good paper, or actually write a solid paper? Was the purpose consequence or intention? As far as I can see, you gave me points for 'doing' but docked me points for 'not trying'...to me that is the definition of cognitive dissonance.
Ultimately, only you know the answer to these questions. At large, it is this sort of introspection that will have to take place before the academic system can cease to decay in the way it has been. In the way that has made me so estranged to it.
2. No, lol, I did not write this.
3. I'm not yet aware of what the professor's response is.
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A letter from a friend of mine to an English Professor.
Last edited by Vulgotha; 03-06-2012 at 04:31.
Your friend is awesome.I once ate a dirty sock...don't tell anyone.
World domination has taken a momentary setback...talk amongst yourselves in the meantime.UK>America. its just true
Yes, he really really is.
This must have been his "outline". Far too many grammar/spelling errors.
Really though, as hilarious as this was to read, he is accurate on the ridiculousness of modern educational systems. Especially here in America where someone with a 4.0 GPA will not get accepted over someone with a 3.0 simply because they weren't the right race... because modern Universities require a certain racial equilibrium at the fear of being looked upon as "racist". It's nauseating and that is only one of many problems in the system.
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That was amazing and if I was that professor reading this now, I wouldn't know how to respond lol. Ironically, my college has it mandatory so that every first year student MUST take the Humanities class, which is pretty much the history of philosophers 101. It's an easy class to pass and very hard to fail (you have to be extremely stupid to fail this).
But I still think the college education I'm getting is useful. Take it from my point of view. I'm into film, so naturally, I'm in a one year media program that gets me one step closer to that big, 3-year film program that has an internship at the end. I probably will regret spending nearly 30k or so while I'm there, but had it not been for a program like this, I would NOT have learned to use editing or Adobe programs on my own because of my lazy ways. This taught me so much in editing, pre-production, filming and graphic design among other things. I can understand his argument since he goes to a program where most of the work is academic (essays and writing, more or less) but a practical education is a good education.
I always hear this argument that I'm wasting my money and time when I could get this job alone. Wrong, I can't get it on my own because I don't have any experience in the field, nor do I have the money to rent out a couple of cameras and a film crew to help shoot my short, music video or full length feature, which would cost a lot more. The thing here in Canada is you can pay your tuition for the year in half. So, you're not worried if the program is 3k, because you can choose to pay half of that and the other much later on, so they give you time to gather the rest of that money.
However, I honestly think it's up to the individual. Whether he or she wants to be there is up to them and they should not listen to other opinions but do what's best for them and how they know it. I know that seems selfish and it probably is, but we're somewhat Hobbsian in nature.
Without a doubt college education has it's uses- the problem I find though, is that it is simply not worth what you pay if you happen to be naturally gifted with intellect and discipline.
I posted this letter on reddit in the education section. Unsurprisingly college teachers\professors immediately attacked it. One of the comments (and my response) addresses alot of what you've covered right here:
Random Reddit Professor: I am a college instructor, and if I got something like this, I would certainly be showing it to all of my fellow instructors here for a good laugh. It reminds me of the papers I get where the student sits down with a thesaurus and throws in a bunch of semicolons and thinks they've turned into the most sophisticated writer and thinker in the world.I've always found it funny that if a teacher ever asks anything more than for a student to simply show up, that teacher automatically becomes an evil dictator. I guess we are supposed to let our students just do nothing because they are starting out as too smart for all of it anyway. I encounter this attitude occasionally, and I always wonder why they are bothering to be here anyway. I know many students who value the education they are getting who either can't get spots where they want to go or can't get financial aid/scholarships because someone else has gotten them. If this person really feels this way, then they should get out of school and clear the way for someone who will value the education they have access to.
And, I agree with bluerum here that some of what we have put together in teaching might seem basic to students. However, we are not just teaching a single student but a whole class of people at different levels. We have generally designed the assignments to be useful and helpful to as many as possible, and rarely do I ever assign something simply as busy work. Everything has a purpose, even if the only purpose might be simply a quick check to remind the student that he or she is supposed to be working on something.
Me: Right, because my buddy just 'grabbed a thesaurus'. Pretty sure if the two of you sat down in a room for a good long discussion on the merits of contemporary western academia (in particular institutions of higher learning) you'd find yourself a bit embarrassed at having so drastically underestimated this 'upstart student'.
Furthermore, the reaction to this letter is a bit disturbing from Reddit. I didn't know that everyone here was such a fan of academia and, apparently, all instructors and professors at the college level /sarcasm. I did, however, post this in the education section. In retrospect I guess this kind of backlash is not completely surprising.
You're also just throwing out strawmen with most of your post. "Teacher ever asks anything more than for a student to simply show up.." I mean really, that's the best you can do teach? College is full of pedantic and bureaucratic bull$#@!. As a college student myself I can certainly attest to how fed up I am.
Has nothing to do with the "poor humble teacher asking too much"- it has everything to do with the inane and absurd demands teachers put on assignments. Rewarding the dingbats who are incapable of actual success (but try hard) vs those who don't need to try hard and excel at the entire point of the class: mastering the substance.
Right now I'm in a technical course for Web Development and my teacher has a PHD in physics.. Who wrote a fantasy novel.. Who has done almost nothing relating to web technology in his career. He teaches 90% of my classes for my Bachelors, and this is at a fairly well regarded university.
Do you know what I do for all my assignments? I write papers. I don't create websites, I don't code CSS/JS/(X)HTML, I don't use CMS's.. I write $#@!ing papers on topics like: "Designing a Web Page for the Handicapped" and "Compare and Contrast XY or AB".
This is why I pay 200+ per credit hour right? Help pay your salary? So I can have some over-glorified physics professor who can't get a job with his doctorate (who also fancies himself a supreme author of fantasy) make me write papers.
It's a good thing that I've taught myself everything I need to know, and that I've landed myself a kickass internship position at a premiere web development firm.
The point my friend is trying to make is that society basically forces us to get these goddamn pieces of paper in order to get a job. Why? Because most people are too stupid and lazy to use the world's best resource (Internet) and have discipline to learn themselves. So we're stuck having to endure this watered down nonsense meant to cover the lowest common denominator.. And in the mean time accrue substantial debt.
Right, and my friend is the moron yea?
I wouldn't doubt if the professor doesn't even bother reading it all :\Vengeful is amazing<3
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I've butted heads many times with the administrative aspects at my school. I'm a senior and just gave my exit interview with the university and burned some bridges while doing so. 3 profs in my dept teach their dogma not facts and I outright stated the head of the dept. was a liar and a hipocrite. They were always more concerned indoctrinating students to their beliefs by institutionalizing the knowledge available. They subjugated knowledge and instead of stimulating critical thought and growth, they wanted clones of themselves. I wasn't a fan of Foucault, but he is spot on in the current system.
Somebody get me a doctor, I ain't feelin' ill ...But I ain't feelin' this at all...
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I don't know what he said, but it was definitely beast mode!
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Lol @ grabbed a thesaurus. Anyone with an IQ higher than that of coiled dog turd can see this isn't simply grabbing a thesaurus. There are grammar/spelling errors that should certainly be addressed since you are posting the letter around, but your friend clearly isn't a moron with a thesaurus in hand. There's nothing funny about this letter.
I've landed myself a kickass internship position at a premiere web development firm.
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