Friday, March 28, 2008

What is means to be college professor

Teaching at a College: What I've Learned ... So Far

It means competing for students' attention against whatever is going on in their lives, from their roommate's hair-dye crisis to their family member's terminal illness.

It means hearing "I'm really not happy with my grade on [insert assignment or test]" and knowing that most of the time that really means "I want to come in and convince you through cuteness, whining, wheedling, and/or flattery that you should raise my grade. P.S. I tried realllllly hard."

It means always wondering if some of your students really do think you're that stupid, or if they are just irrationally optimistic.

It means having to keep a mental tally of someone else's recently deceased or dying relatives.

It also means being introduced to smiling parents who apparently have heard a lot of really good things about you. (Sometimes it means being grateful you remembered the student's name.)

It means dreading opening your email for 48 hours after returning work and being surprised by the occasional unsolicited grateful email.

It means being thanked by parents who (unfairly to their child) think that you are somehow the only reason their child managed to graduate.

It means being the recipient of secret crushes (and if you're unlucky, a stalker).

It means hearing "Thank you" a lot and wondering where you can get your sincerity detector re-calibrated.

It means being blunt and learning to say no when the situation calls for it.

It means being surrounded by colleagues who are (on average) as smart as you, and who know it. That in turn means learning to argue with flattery and make strategic compromises.

It means inventing novel ways of getting motivated to work on the less appealing aspects of your job. Cough*grading*cough. Ahem.

It means staying up until 4:35 grading because you told your students they could beat you with a big stick if you didn't have their papers graded by the next class period.

Okay, maybe that last one's just me.

1 comment:

PHD Knitter said...

I completely understand all of the classroom management issues. Cheer up -- it's almost May and you're not alone :)