What a former college instructor really thinks…

Posts tagged “college

A Public Service Announcement for Kids Who Are Leaving for College

Dear Entering Freshmen,

We at the University of Eternally Rising Tuition are looking forward to seeing you in a few short weeks.  Before you arrive on campus, we encourage you to make the following preparations to ensure that you will have a most excellent start to your college career.

1. Body Hair Management: You may have been raised to believe that women should shave their body hair and men should let it grow freely.  At the university, expectations are reversed.  Your highly liberal professors will respect you more (and give you better grades) if you don’t follow the usual expectations for your gender.  So, men: the only hair on your body should be on your head.  And, women: you will be adored if you look like Sasquatch.  Please remember that your college experience is all about the academics, so you really shouldn’t care if you receive funny looks or get beat up in the gym locker room (men) or can’t find a date to save your life (women).  These minor inconveniences will help you relate to your professors and that’s the whole reason you’re coming here.

2.  Read a book:  Cliff’s Notes don’t count.  At some point in your college career, you might not be permitted to coast by without doing the homework.  There’s only a 40% chance of that ever happening, but why take the risk?

3. Convert to Islam: Just like your body hair management, your religion will play a huge role in whether your professors let you succeed in college.  If you become a Muslim, you will instantly be the darling of all sorts of faculty members.  You can convert back to your old religion when you graduate as long as you are able to avoid the occasional militant Islamist who believes that apostates should be killed.  If you choose to hold on to your belief in Christianity or Judaism, may the Lord have mercy on your soul during your six or seven years in college.  Exception: if you adhere to the practice of Wicca, you should be okay.

4. Buy a car and a house: By the time you’re done with college, you’ll be in so much debt that no one will ever give you a loan.

We sincerely hope you will take our advice and arrive on campus ready to impress your professors and prevent the total annihilation of your future financial lives.  You’re taking out too many loans to ignore our every whim and desire.

How to Sleep With Your Professor’s Husband

Dear Students,

Two weeks ago, I wrote a memo on how to sleep with your professor’s wife.  Because there are plenty of female students among you, I am finally getting around to writing the additional set of guidelines I promised.  If you plan on pursuing extracurricular activities with your professor’s husband, please adhere to the following supplemental protocols:

1: He needs to use a condom if you might take another course from his wife.  Sooner or later, the professor is going to see your love child and notice that it looks an awful lot like her man.  This will not help your GPA.  If you are in your final semester at the university, you have nothing to worry about and can leave the condom at home.

2: You can’t bring him back to the dorm with you.  Older men look creepy (and therefore attract attention) in a women’s dorm.   You may object that there is a double standard at play: male students can bring the professor’s wife back to the dorm but the female students shouldn’t bring the professor’s husband.  You need to understand that there is a very important difference… the parents of the male students won’t refuse to pay his room and board if they learn of an older topless woman in the dorm.

3: Make sure he doesn’t bring a video camera, especially if his wife works in the drama department.  This one should explain itself.  If you’re going to be a pervert’s victim, at least have the foresight to not let your escapades become high art.  Porn pays so much better and we want you to make lot of money so you can donate generously to our annual fund.

If you obey our commands and behave responsibly, you will succeed in not ruining your academic life.   You’ll also help keep our fundraising goals intact.   Thank you very much and have a nice day.

The Plagiarist vs. The Play Jurist

In theory, committing plagiarism is supposed to be the surest way to get yourself expelled from college.  (The second surest way would be joining Duke’s lacrosse team…)  But believe it or not, plagiarism often goes unpunished or lightly reprimanded.  Let’s have a look at some of the people who make this situation possible:

The Professor.  If the professor discovers plagiarism, he will have to spend an extraordinary amount of time moving the case through the proper administrative channels.  He knows full well that his time is much better spent on editing the 52nd annual Yearbook for Frog Intestinal Studies.  Kermit’s wrath is far greater than what the professor can expect from the department chair, and if the plagiarists give him good course evaluations as a reward for being lenient, he might receive a small pay raise from the university.

The Department Chair. This person spends his time counting the number of students enrolled in his department’s courses.  He has no motivation to push his professors to crack down on plagiarism because the students would no longer be able to enroll in his department’s courses… and that would cost his department money.  To maintain the appearance of upholding academic standards, the department chair may ask the student to complete the plagiarized assignment “a second time.”

The Judicial Committee. If a case somehow makes its way to the administrative powers-that-be, there are still reasons why a plagiarist might come away unscathed.  The committee members know that tuition dollars pay their salaries and keep their employer afloat, so why hurry to deprive themselves of a source of income?  It is mandated that they punish the student now, perhaps with a reduced course grade and a notation of “plagiarist” on the transcript.  That notation can often be removed after a year or two if the student figures out how not to get reported again.  (The students who get caught often aren’t the brightest, so I wouldn’t hold out too much hope on that one…)  Exception: students who receive scholarships quickly lose out on some payments.

Potential Employers after Graduation.  Yeah… try telling students that they shouldn’t plagiarize because the corporate world looks down on cheating.   Students might believe you if you tell them that businesses look down on getting caught cheating, but professors usually can’t afford to tell students the truth.  And if students would want to work for an ethical business, they probably wouldn’t be considering plagiarism, right?

Classmates.  If you report your classmate for plagiarism, his friends will sneak into your dorm room, strangle you with a tube sock, and burn the place down.    Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

“Oskar Schindler was my Grandfather’s Great Uncle and That Makes Me a Special Student”

Dear Readers,

Please don’t get your hopes up.  Here at Necrotic Hijinks, we do not stoop so low as to joke about genocide.  When American college students become the victims, we will reconsider our policy.  (Legal disclaimer: we do not condone murder of any kind.)  Thank you.


The Management


Dear Readers,

Here at Necrotic Hijinks, we do not think it is funny that so many students have no idea who Oskar Schindler was, or that Adolf Hitler spoke German, or that the Nazis killed millions of innocent people, or that genocides continue to take place today.  Please excuse the misleading headline for this post; few students would ever claim to be related to Oskar Schindler because few colleges care enough to teach their students anything of importance.  You can’t claim to be related to someone you’ve never heard of.


The Management


Dear College-Age Readers,

We at Necrotic Hijinks extend our heartfelt apologies that your professors banished you from class when you informed them that Adolf Hitler spoke German.  According to most professors, Adolf Hitler speaks a funny form of English and lived on a ranch in Crawford, Texas.   That other Hitler guy is an unimportant detail to them.


The Management


Dear College-Age Readers,

Even though it is important to have important topics like genocide included in the curriculum, it is not appropriate for you to hold up the nude photographs of Holocaust victims as a reason to offer the course.  Even though the nude photos are what most professors will find interesting about the subject, it would be disgraceful for professors to prance in front of the classroom with the photos saying “Looky!  Looky! Looky!”  And you know they’d do it, don’t you?


The Management


Dear Readers,

Here at Necrotic Hijinks, we pride ourselves on historical accuracy.  Contrary to what you had thought, the man’s name was spelled O-S-K-A-R.  While we appreciate that you took your professors’ advice not to use Wikipedia as an authoritative source, please consider making use of legitimate reference materials before going ballistic over someone else’s spelling.  Thank you.


The Management


Dear Readers,

Despite what you may be thinking, this post was not designed to be gratuitous humor based on a tragic historical event.  You would be amazed to hear what some college faculty have to say about this period of history and its aftermath.  Many of them only care about dead people if they were killed because of their race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, or sexual orientation… and Jewish (and Christian) genocide victims usually don’t matter unless they were critical of their religious traditions, or of capitalism.


Lou Tafisk

Proposed Geography Course: I See London, I See France

Students in the U.S. feel insufficiently motivated to learn about foreign lands and cultures.  Unfortunately, it is not the educator’s job to force students to learn anything or even to tell them to “try it and you may like it.”  The preferred route is to motivate them to be interested in a topic.   Motivation works (occasionally) but you have to come up with something stupendous to hook potential learners.

This proposed course offers a hook that will let students see the most intimate details of foreign lands.  That’s right!  We’re going to be examining people’s underwear.  This may sound like a frivolous topic but I assure you that it is not.  If you visit Amazon.com or any of the international Amazon websites, you will find that people in foreign countries prefer different types of underwear.  Often, this underwear is much more revealing, and this provides an excellent chance to grab students’ attention.

This may also provide encouragement to students who might not otherwise consider studying abroad.  Students will have a chance to see some of the most important sights that foreign countries have to offer.  And let’s be honest: we all know that the inhabitants of many countries show everyone these sights without a second thought.  Our students will be global citizens in no time.

But the administration may object: Don’t we run the risk of having our students stay overseas forever?  Won’t that negatively impact our tuition revenues?  This objection is legitimate, but educators must always remember that our first priority is what’s best for the students.  If we’re concerned about students not wanting to come back, we can always encourage them to bring back souvenirs to share with their friends.  Then, on Diversity Day, they can all parade around campus wearing the culturally significant artifacts they discovered while abroad.  Our entire community will be celebrating diversity in no time!

That parade should be enough reason for the university to approve this course proposal.

Bring Back Crucifixion

How many times have we heard students claim that they were “crucified” by their teachers for doing poor work?  As a certified old fogey (who is less than 45 years old), I would love to demand that students stop these unfair exaggerations.   The comparison to Jesus’ killers makes teachers look bad.  And since students often think they’re God, the metaphor is easily predicted.   So… rather than embark on the impossible quest of teaching students that they are average humans, I propose that we bolster their existing self-perception.  Besides improving students’ self-esteem (the primary goal of education), it will help us keep our jobs by making the customer happy.

In this spirit, I propose that the university pass a policy that will allow professors to perform crucifixions on students.  Besides the obvious psychological benefits to the crucified student, the community will make valuable gains as well.  Let’s be honest: how often does history come alive like this for students?  It would be a great educational demonstration that students would never forget.  And: since the university likes to promote permissive sexual attitudes, having a naked student bleeding profusely in public would help tremendously in achieving that aspect of social justice.

We must liberate society from oppressive moral standards!

Serious Thoughts on College Career Services

Since ceasing my employment with The University of X a few months ago, I have been looking for a new job.  I recently visited my undergraduate alma mater’s Career Services office (because they also help alumni) even though I was really worried about the idea.

The reason I was worried is probably not what you are thinking.  You may not realize this, but the “Career Service” office is often not a “service.”  For a moment, let’s forget that the college has a vested interest in having its potential donors be employed and making as much money as possible.  There are other vested interests that many of you may not be aware of.

I’ll start with the big one.  If you are enrolled in law, medicine, or another program that normally leads to careers in a specific field, the college needs you to choose that field for the institution’s sake.  If too many law students choose to do something other than law, it can make the school look bad when rankings time comes around.  (There are also a few industrious applicants who ask about this.)   Some programs find a way around this in their promotional materials by telling people that “90% of our graduates are employed within 3 months of graduation.”  What they fail to tell you is that half of those people are selling cosmetics door-to-door.  I have a feeling that these graduates didn’t take on so much debt to end up selling cosmetics.

But back to rankings: if you consider going for a Ph.D., you need to understand a few things up front.  Most importantly, a strong program will probably not accept you unless your application materials say “I want to become a professor.”  Doctoral programs recruit new students based on the professor jobs its graduates receive.  (And again be careful.  Some programs will say that 90% of their graduates secure academic appointments after completing the degree.  That number can include Visiting Assistant Professors who only stay at a college for a year or two.  It can also include a large number of people who teach for less than what a Wal-Mart cashier makes.  The key word to hunt for is “Tenure-Track.”)  But if you are nearing the end of your program and decide that you want to do something else, you can often expect that Career Services will encourage you to pursue the career that typically flows from the degree you are pursuing, even if it is painfully obvious that you should be doing something else.

Moral of the story: Remember that your college has financial and reputational concerns of its own and Career Services exists to serve those, not you.  This is why I love my undergraduate Career Services office so much.  It’s in their interest to help me because so many people with graduate degrees forget about their undergrad colleges.  In their eyes, I’m a donor in the making.  And the undergraduate college’s academic programs don’t benefit at all if I choose one career path over another.  Although it’s counterintuitive, and even though it really helped to also speak with a specialist who knows about the unique problems facing Ph.D.-holding job applicants, the undergrad institution’s office has been an excellent resource.

Things turn out better when Career Services’ goals match your goals.

The Arachnid Penis

Ever since I wrote my first post (in which I suggested “The Arachnid Penis” as a good blog title) I have been trying to come up with a way to inseminate that image into a future post.  It’s a relatively small (pun intended) and insignificant topic unless you happen to be a spider, so ideas weren’t pouring out of me.   So maybe if I take a closer look at spiders, I will come up with something to do with the penis.  (Get your mind out of the gutter.)

When we think of spiders, we usually think of their fangs and their legs.  So when you add penises in, these animals are the epitome pf phallic creatures- especially since their fangs like to jam their way into other creatures.  And so I must apologize for not having a picture to go with this post.  I understand that sexually suggestive photography is everyone’s favorite part of biology but I am not here to pander.   I am here to teach you about a serious topic that deserves your respect and undivided attention.

And at this point I am starting to sound like the average professor.  How many professors like to argue that their research interests are significant, often with the assertion that all knowledge is important, but without being able to tell you exactly why your tuition dollars should help pay for their work.  In fairness, there’s a lot of arcane research out there (especially in the STEM fields) that looks ridiculous or unimportant that may eventually prove valuable; therefore, we need to be careful about what research we attack as useless.  However, the seventeenth book on hermaphrodites in Shakespeare’s tragedies seems like a waste of money.

As Shakespeare wrote, “I have drunk, and seen the spider.”   So, too, do many professors drink and discover research pursuits that are equally small.  I’ll grant that spiders are an important part of our ecosystem… but the way many professors think, “I saw the spider” means “I saw the spider naked.”  And that means we’re talking about the insignificant arachnid penis again.

I propose that arachnid penises have no place at the university, with the possible exception of Women’s Studies departments.  If you spend enough time around Women’s Studies professors, your anatomy will soon shrink to the size of an arachnid penis.  And that helps the feminists feel good about themselves.

Shake Your Booty and Don’t Give Pop Quizzes

When I was in 2nd grade, my teacher was new and she obviously hadn’t spent much time around young children.  One day she was feeling especially out of her comfort zone and thought she needed to find a way to entertain the class.  So… she walked to the front of the room and said, “kids, I am now going to spin around for you.”  I don’t know why she thought this would be entertaining, but approximately half the class was clamoring for “more!  more!”  And the teacher kept spinning until one of the female students called out “they just want to see your underwear.”  The teacher promptly stopped.

Teaching second graders is a completely different game from teaching college students.  Sort of.  In college, students (or their parents) are paying tuition and believe that they deserve to get whatever they want.  The other big difference is that college students are above the legal age of consent, so it’s no longer entirely illegal if you give them the lingerie shots they clamor for.  Of course, college kids won’t be satisfied with just seeing your underwear; they get that all the time in the dorms.  Today’s students need to see you strut your stuff so they know you’re their equal.   (This must be why ratemyprofessors includes a chili pepper for students to identify their “hot” teachers.)

Always remember that egalitarianism must come first when it comes to teaching.  Shaking your booty shows them that you’re as dumb and horny as they are; the best teachers are always the ones that students can relate to.  And forget about all those pop quizzes; testing students’ knowledge implies that you know more than they do, and that’s an absolute no-no.   You are fellow explorers on a quest for knowledge and the most valuable knowledge you can discover together is disco butt exercises.

Proposed Religion Course: Satan Worship for Fun and Profit

I already know what you thought when you read the headline for this post: Satan worship is not a religion and has no business being in a college curriculum.  Of course, you’re wrong again.

The problem is that you have completely misunderstood what the college curriculum is all about.  Here at the University of Professors’ Arcane Interests, anything goes!  Our professors have redefined the term “religion” to encompass all sorts of practices that have traditionally been excluded from that designation.  Allowing Satan worship into the fold is only fair; who are we to judge what counts as a religion and what doesn’t?  It even fits perfectly with  what other departments are doing; the English department considers Harry Potter to be just as literary as Shakespeare and the music department rakes in the dough by filling auditoriums with its “Rock for Jocks” course.  If nothing else, learning about Satan worship will give students valuable insights on what they are learning in their other classes.

But that’s not the only benefit!  A Satan worship course could be fun for students.  Carving pentagrams into their wrists could be the most exciting lab experience they’ve ever had.  How can we not take this opportunity to get students engaged with science?  And think of all the educational movies they could watch during class.  This would free the professor from having to create lesson plans, allowing more time to publish research that no one will ever read.  And because students will end the course with a thorough knowledge of Satan worship, they will be well equipped to use that knowledge to make money in the entertainment industry.  So even though you might have moral qualms about students learning about Satan worship, never forget that there are useful practical applications for all knowledge.  There is no such thing as useless knowledge. 

Caveat: if your child plans to join the clergy, this is not an appropriate course selection.  We are here to proclaim the equality of all religions and the clergy aren’t into that kind of thing.  We will not be teaching our students that human sacrifice and bodily mutilation are bad.  Sorry.

My First Victim is not a Victim, or the Faults of Academic Liberals

In my first post on this blog, I offered to thrash kindly critique the blog of anyone who wanted to be victimized (wait a minute… maybe “victimized” was right) by my humor.  I just got my volunteer and it is the last thing I expected…

Idiot Photographer volunteered and s/he does a photography blog that has recently been featuring men in drag.  Having spent so many years in a university setting, I constantly heard feminists and gay advocates harp on how everyone who isn’t their brand of liberal is obviously anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-anything-but-medieval-traditional.  These professors write theories about it,  author books about it,  tattoo slogans about it on their butts, etc.   And so I must say that it is refreshing to have I.P. making an invitation to me, a blogger who sometimes likes to make acidic commentary in the direction of academic liberal activists.

Unfortunately, Idiot Photographer is not someone I can victimize and it has nothing to do with political correctness.  I.P. would seem to have an uncorrupted brain.  I don’t know whether s/he is gay or not, but s/he obviously has an interest in gay-related themes.  It is most unusual for me to find someone from that arena who seems to just be going along and living his or her life, not referring to people as bigots solely on the basis of their non-leftist views.  (Well, either that or s/he missed the posts where I talked politics…)

And so my first victim in this blog is not a victim.  A little less mutual distrust goes a long way and it would be nice if professors could realize that.  On the other hand, professors can’t let themselves realize that little detail because they would be undermining their life’s work.  Conservatives, centrists, and anyone else not on the left (with the possible exception of Libertarians) have to be the professors’ enemy just so they can keep the boat afloat.  You can sell “Victim Studies” to students and fill classrooms because these topics make the students feel good.  (That’s right: students feel good because they believe they are being good people by learning the stuff.)  You can’t sell “Minority Photography that Doesn’t Discuss Victimhood” because students are no longer given the illusion of helping people.  Remember: university life is about people believing that they’re improving the world by reading and writing things that no one else looks at; real improvements aren’t usually part of the equation.

The Part Where I Burn Idiot Photographer at the Stake:

Okay, I lied earlier.  Idiot Photographer will be my first victim.  Even though I.P. hasn’t been corrupted, s/he surely has lots of friends who have been.   (Demographically, gays tend to be pretty liberal… probably because of the BS from the academic Left and bigotry from certain people on the Right.)  Some of these friends may consider interactions with a non-lefty to be a capital offense.   And so my message to Idiot Photographer is this: I apologize if you get beat up by your friends.  If you are gay, I hope they understand that you should be able to interact with whomever you please as long as you do not infringe upon anyone else.  Lefties can be extraordinarily intolerant that way.  And since you wanted a review of your site, I’ll say this: the drag photos aren’t my thing even though the quality of the photography is pretty good.  And I’m rather fond of the stairwells, bridges, and cathedrals.  But: keep doing what you’re doing.

Can Heroin and Vodka Help Students Learn?

Imagine for a moment that you are a kindergarten teacher.  Today you are going to begin an educational assistance program for your students and they’re going to love it.  (As we all know, “they’re going to love it” is the best way to judge the effectiveness of pedagogical techniques.)  It’s even easier than all the hard stuff associated with memorizing and learning.

Here is the plan: you are going to shoot each student up three times with heroin.  Although you know that this won’t help them developmentally, your professors told you that heroin is the best way to motivate student learning.  As long as the kids’ teachers continue to give them heroin through the years, students will learn anything you give them.  If you stop injecting the heroin, they won’t learn anything.

Let’s have an honest show of hands: how many of you wish school had really been like this?  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  (Legal Disclaimer: don’t try this at home.)

Unfortunately, we all know that heroin does not assist learning even though withdrawal from any drug (including alcohol) can cause a person to lose knowledge or skills gained while under the influence.  The same goes for the incessant boosting of the students’ self-esteem and curricular dumbing-down.  It starts early, so teachers of older kids run the risk of losing their students’ cooperation if they don’t coddle them.  These teachers are informed that the student audience has changed; this is coupled with demands that teachers change their methods to “adapt” to the new student shortcomings.  I don’t mean to imply that everything was perfect in Education Land 75 years ago, but these demands miss the mark.  To see why, let’s go back to Kindergarten:

You just gave your kindergartener a shot of vodka today and he’s a little dizzy.  What’s the solution?  Correct!  You give him another shot of vodka.

Now he’s throwing up, but he likes the taste and wants more vodka.  What do you do?  You guessed it!  Two more shots!

And the little boy passes out in a puddle of his own vomit.   When he wakes up in the morning, you tell him that you’re proud of him because he handled the vodka very well.  He asks for more, so of course you’re supposed to give it to him.  You might as well hand him the whole bottle because he’s just so talented.

An hour later, his liver has decided that this isn’t funny and it’s no longer functioning.  Junior is now a dazzling shade of yellow.  (It makes him look so handsome!)  Unfortunately, you’re out of vodka so you decide to go see a doctor to ask about Junior’s lack of hand-eye coordination.  But you’re not looking for real medical help because you already know the right answer: a prescription for vodka!

And so it goes with inflating students’ grades and self-esteem while ignoring their reduced skills and ever-shortening attention spans.  The solution parents demand, the one colleges demand of professors, and the one students expect is MORE VODKA!  Um… I mean more dumbing down and more fueling of students’ self-esteem.

I think we can all see how that turns out.  In the end, the self-esteem addicts face the same results as the heroin addicts and alcoholics: their brains are fried.

Got Student Loan Debt? Sell your STD’s

Did you take out piles of loans while you were a student?  Did you spend your college years drinking and having sex and doing everything but developing your skills and knowledge?  And did you emerge into this horrible economy with no job and no obvious way to make money?  Things may look bleak, but cheer up.  There is a way for you to get out of the situation you are in.  Although your college failed to give you the skills employers want and you refused to learn much of anything, there is hope.  All that time you spent with beer and prostitutes can now pay off because you can sell your STD’s.

But you may object: isn’t prostitution illegal?  Of course prostitution is illegal, but you won’t be engaging in prostitution.  You will be going into business selling things that other businesses are able to sell.  Have you ever ordered crabs at Red Lobster?  Good!  Then you know the a few things about marketing your product.  (Surely you noticed that the shellfish at Red Lobster seemed to taste a little odd…) However, you must always remember one critical difference between you and Red Lobster: you must always offer free delivery.  If you charge for shipping and handling, you have become a prostitute.

And you will finally have a job that matches the passions you explored in college.  As if that weren’t good enough, there’s an added bonus: you still won’t have to use those inconvenient little condoms that you avoided so religiously in college.  That means your operating expenses would be nearly nothing.  It’s a great career opportunity to help you ride out the Recession, so what are you waiting for?

Disclaimer: Necrotic Hijinks Inc. cannot be held responsible if your genitals fall off after a couple of years.  We also cannot guarantee that your eventual child support payments will come out to less than what you earn.

Quiz: Can You Tell That I’m Blogging About You?

This post was inspired by a response I received to my last one.  For those of you who don’t want to read it, here’s a quick summary:

I wrote a “love letter” to one of my bratty former students.  She hated me then but probably loves me or my teaching now.  She also thought I was attracted to her back in the day.  She’s hot and would be fun to sleep with in a decade or two, but she’s obnoxious and immature now.

The response I received made me imagine that she could have been reading the piece.  (And she could be you, my dear reader.  She could be all of you for all I know.)  And so I’m going to administer a little pop quiz, in part because I’m curious and in part because I really miss torturing students with pop quizzes.

Question 1:

When I implied that you don’t have the brains to back up your bragging, did you think I was talking about you?  Did you recognize yourself in my description of someone who desperately needs to grow up?

Question 2:

You always thought I loved you.  When I made jokes about wanting to receive nude photos of you and eventually sleep with you, did you view that as confirmation of your beliefs from all those years ago?


Question 1: If you recognized yourself in the criticisms I made, you are not my former student.  The ability to recognize your shortcomings is something that our educational system does not encourage you to do; therefore, it is not a quality to be found in the typical immature person.  You are special and unique because you know that you are not special and unique.

Question 2: Although a “yes” response may reveal your inability to recognize a joke, it’s more likely that you’re not psychologically capable of realizing how silly your earlier imaginings were.   I wouldn’t complain if you sent me those nude photos anyway, but you’re deluded if you think any former teacher could focus that way on a student for so many years.  And even if I could, why on earth would it be you?  The fact that you think I want you is more likely a symptom of your desire for me.  You were always hot for teacher and you just can’t let go.  You went into a lot of debt for that degree and you think you deserve everything your teachers have to offer.  You are an entitled little brat, but you are probably cute.  (BTW: Don’t get your hopes up.  Kittens are cute too.)

Love Letter to a Former Student

Dear Lucy,

You were my student four years ago when you were in your first semester of college.  You despised me and made sure that hatred was known, but you also thought I was madly in love with you.  Or maybe it was lust you thought I harbored.  No matter.

Through some miracle, we made it through the semester and went our separate ways; somehow, I never was able to forget about you. And I know you never forgot about me.  It’s a sad fact of life that teachers remain psychologically connected to the students who created the biggest problems, not the ones who were exceptionally good.  But we are not just connected through our memories of one another; we are connected through our mutual intellectualism.  You like to proclaim your braininess as loudly as you can, and I can never be too far away to hear you brag.  Seriously… you brag that loudly.  That’s what makes you so precious and lovable.

But I can also see your pain.  Your student loans are dragging you down and your boasting has become muted by people asking you how someone so smart got so far in the financial hole.  In the meantime, your mind has created an idealized vision of your college experience and you have grown to love me, the teacher you once abhorred.  Or: you love my teaching, but probably not me.  I sure hope you don’t love me; you’re not my type.  (However, please send nude photos my way if you get a chance.)

You have to love me now because it’s all you have left. College is over for you and no one has to treat you like you’re special any longer.   And you have to justify to yourself why you spent so much money for a fancy school.  So while I used to be annoyed by you, I now pity you.  This love letter is not to the student I once taught, but to the one who will someday have grown up.   And you are growing up… finally.  Sooner or later, you will be someone I might enjoy sharing a coffee with, but it is saddening to know that you won’t be 25 or 30 until that happens.  College has kept you and your classmates as infants for too long.   I really don’t enjoy sleeping with infants.

And I do hope you decide to share that coffee with me sometime.  Pour it over my grave if it takes you that long to grow up; I’d prefer the coffee to the saliva you wished for once upon a time.

May our love continue to blossom!

Ten Sickening Ways to Bribe Your Students for Food

This one goes out to all of the teachers and professors who are doing summer school duty…

It’s the 4th of July and all of the grocery stores are closed.  You had wanted to have a barbecue today but you didn’t have enough time to go shopping for food yesterday.  You’ve got chips, vegetables, and dip on hand but you’re short on meat.  How might you go about finding some today?

In theory, you could go outside and catch some insects or small rodents; your friends might not appreciate that, but it’s always a possibility.  Otherwise, you could find some ribs and you can probably get some from your students.  Each student has 24 ribs and considering the way many students treat their bodies, they won’t mind if you cause a little more damage.  (Well, I suppose you should at least try to be gentle with the hacksaw…)  So without further ado, here are ten ways to convince students to part with their rib cages so you can enjoy a tasty treat:

1: Remind them that they will be losing weight if they part with some ribs.  (That might be enough to convince them already.)  Then, offer to purchase them a new shirt this weekend.

2: Give them a couple of extra days to finish the next homework assignment.  Remind them that they can have more time to complete it if the loss of blood causes a medical emergency.  (Teachers have to be understanding of students’ personal needs when it comes to enforcing course policies.)

3: Offer to help them fill out an application for yet another credit card.  Since so many college students have problems with basic literacy skills, this could be a godsend for them.

4: Offer to buy alcohol for anyone under 21.   In other words: they can have a great party this weekend if they let you have a great party now.

5: Offer them leniency in the area of course attendance.  This is especially useful if all three of their grandmothers have already died this semester.

6: Offer them a signed copy of your Facebook home page.  Students love knowing about their professors’ online lives and this gift will make them feel special.

7: Offer to give them an A on their term paper if they “accidentally” bleed on it.

8: Offer to buy them porn and remind them that they might be able to reach certain body parts with their mouth if they let go of a few ribs.

9: Offer to give them a full-body shave before you start extracting ribs; some kids would go wild for this.  (This really isn’t a bribe because sanitary rib removal would require at least a partial body shave.  You are using sanitary methods, right?)

10: For female students: remind them that their breasts will look bigger if they don’t have ribs.  Offer to buy them a fancy new bra to show off in.   After all, what student hasn’t always wanted to say to her friends, “look at the bra my professor bought me?”

But you may object: are you sure that today’s students are really this reckless with their health?  Yes, I am sure… but student ribs probably don’t taste very good anyway. Meat always tastes like what the animal ate and barbecue should not taste like Ramen and Oreos.  Plus: you might also want to avoid consuming too many ribs if you have to pass a drug test in the near future…

Moral of the story: There’s very little a teacher can do to a student that is worse than what students already do to themselves.

Why I’m Glad July 4th is During Summer Vacation

The 4th of July is almost here; while I’m looking forward to some fireworks, there are some fireworks I’m glad I won’t be seeing.

As you know, the holiday does not take place during the regular school year.  This means that our colleges and universities do not have an opportunity to smear this holiday like they do for others.  Let’s take Valentine’s Day as an example.  On many campuses, Valentine’s Day has morphed into V-Day.  No, that’s not a WWII reference and the V does not stand for Valentine.  The V is for Vagina.  In theory, this is a brilliant idea.  Let’s take a day when many of the men will be taking a female companion out and lead up to it by constantly reminding them of vaginas.  It sounds like a great rape prevention program!  (Yes, that was sarcasm in case you couldn’t tell.  The real reason professors support the idea of “V-Day” is that they think it will allow women to take control of language that has been used to demean them.  I’m not joking.)

And so now we arrive at the Fourth of July.  If college were in session, the faculty might try a different abbreviation: F-Day.  I’m sure you all can come up with some nice F-words that are thematically related to vagina, so I won’t go there.  Instead, I will go with the most taboo F-word on college campuses today: Failure.  That’s right!  Professors without tenure (and some who have tenure) cannot fail a student without putting their job in jeopardy; as I’ve indicated many times on this blog, failing students costs the university money and it can cause an academic department to receive reduced funding from the university. And since these professors can’t fail their students, they need to find someone else to fail.  It makes the professors feel good about themselves.

So they choose to fail the United States, and does anyone doubt that the 4th of July would be F-Day if classes were in session?  To be fair, the U.S. is hardly perfect, but there is something to be said for recognizing this country’s strengths in addition to its shortcomings.  Most of the time, professors like to harp on the shortcomings to the point that the big picture is lost.   Every day is F (for Failure) Day on campus when you’re talking about the United States.  Let’s be glad that one day still exists every year when the pendulum is allowed to swing in the other direction.

But if you must celebrate “F-Day” tomorrow, I hope the F stands for something fun.

Happy 4th of July!

How to Sleep With Your Professor’s Wife

Dear students,

I am writing to you today to address a topic of grave concern.  While the university wants you to take advantage of everything we have to offer, it has come to our attention that many of you are taking advantage of your professors’ wives.  (A separate memo will be issued to students who have been sleeping with their professors’ husbands.)  Because this behavior has a major impact on our community, we would like to provide some basic guidelines:

1: Use a condom.  Your professors spend much of their time around attractive young people, contract a variety of STD’s, and then go home to their wives.  The professor’s wife is probably quite diseased by now and should not be handled without the appropriate precautions.

2: Skip class.  Your escapades will have a happier ending if the professor does not find out what you are doing.  Therefore, we recommend skipping the professor’s class and visiting his wife at that time.  Since you know he’ll be teaching, he can’t catch you in the act.  While you might think that skipping class will be detrimental to your education, please remember that your education will be worthless if the professor kills you in a fit of rage.

3: Don’t post pictures online.  We know you want to brag, but this is really inconsiderate.  We expect you to adhere to the highest moral standards at all times; therefore, please make sure that your photos remain a private matter between you, the professor’s wife, and your fraternity brothers.

4: Say “thank you.”  Always remember that the professor’s wife is providing you with a valuable educational experience, so be polite when it’s through.  It never hurts to send her flowers or candy, but don’t pay her cash.  She’s not a prostitute.

If you follow these simple recommendations, you will get the most out of your college experience without making things difficult for yourself or others.  Have a nice day!

A Public Service Announcement for Brainwashed College Students

Dear Students,

We, the administration at the University of Tuition Collection, have been troubled to learn that our professors have been trying to brainwash you into support for their leftist political ideas.  While some of you have formed organizations in an attempt to combat anti-intellectualism on campus, many of you accept everything your professors tell you without questioning it, even when there is no logic or evidence (except for “it’s politically desirable”) behind anything they say.  You may be wondering why these anti-authoritarian types are being permitted to parade their authority around campus with an iron fist.  Therefore, we would like to take a moment to explain a few reasons why we have allowed things to progress this far:

1: Many of your professors are paid less than cashiers at Wal-Mart, and they receive worse benefits.  You may wonder why such highly educated people allow themselves to be taken advantage of like that.  The reason’s very simple: we pump them up with Marxism and anti-Americanism and, voila, they can no longer stomach the idea of working in business or government.   And we keep them here by fostering the belief that their research on Poststructuralist Literary Marxism is helping save the world.  That’s how we get these people to stand in line for such pitiful wages and we pass the savings on to you, our dear students.  (Legal disclaimer: we pass on the parts that don’t fund our salaries or the research on subjects like Poststructuralist Literary Marxism.)

2: We love receiving funds from the government and we know who our friends are: the Democrats.  The Republicans, especially the Tea Partiers, wouldn’t send money our way even if we banished all the liberals from campus.  How do you think we could afford to build this fabulous new student center?  (Legal disclaimer: this is not bribery.  We adhere to the highest standards of academic integrity.  All we do is prevent any conservative troublemakers from working for us.)

3: Contrary to what you may currently believe, your interactions with university personnel will not always demand that you voice support for a leftist political agenda and social ideals.  Once you graduate, we will be contacting you incessantly for financial contributions.  Although lefties usually disdain large, wealthy organizations, we hope you will overlook that part of their message and give generously.  (Legal disclaimer: if you donate money and require that we use the funds to support non-leftist activities, our lawyers will find a way around it.)

4: Lefties are much more likely to streak on campus than righties and we need a way to keep ourselves entertained in this small town.  (Legal disclaimer: the students are all 18 or older.  This is not illegal.)

So as you can see, we are doing everything in our power to ensure that you receive the best possible education at UTC.  Even if your brain rots a little while you’re here, it’s a small price to pay for helping to build our great institution.

Proposed Biology Course: The Anatomy of Kittens

College students usually hate science classes and professors are often stuck trying to find a way to make the subject interesting.  As we all know, there is one foolproof way to get students interested in anything: add some cute, cuddly kittens.

And it works so well with an anatomy course, too.  You can talk about all the parts of a foot and then show a cute little kitty paw.  How adorable!  And having a kitten in front of the classroom means that the students will always be looking in your direction instead of at the clock.

But you may object: anatomy courses usually require dissections and there’s no way a professor could ever convince students to slice into a kitten.  Your point is well taken, but you’d be wrong.  When it comes to academics, students are always looking for the easiest way to get something done, and the kittens make dissections so much easier.  Because kittens are small and young, their skin is much easier to pierce with the scalpel.  And as an added bonus, they don’t yelp as loud or claw as hard as a fully grown cat; this is especially important if a student applies an inadequate dose of formaldehyde before starting to cut.  As you can see, everyone benefits when you bring kittens into the lab!

The janitors benefit too because they won’t have to clean up the mess.  Just tell your students to wrap up their kittens and bring them home when the dissection is done.  Their dogs will appreciate the tasty treat.

What Will They Learn? ACTA Doesn’t Know…

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is the love child of Lynne Cheney and Joe Lieberman (although Lieberman no longer wants his name associated with the group).  You might call them a conservative activist organization, although their primary goal of depoliticizing college curricula is something that people of all political persuasions can stand behind.  They also do some unnecessary conservative stuff, but that’s a post for another day..

As part of their work, ACTA operates a website called What Will They Learn and it attempts to promote a strong core curriculum instead of the watered-down versions so many colleges offer.  They list seven rating criteria and evaluate every college in the U.S. on whether they meet these ideals.  The listings are free and easy to follow.  Colleges that perform well sometimes advertise their success in their student recruitment materials.

In theory, this is a much needed service.  In practice, ACTA obviously did not do sufficient research.  To make my point, I would like to focus on two of their criteria: Composition and Foreign Language.

Composition: ACTA calls for a “college writing class focusing on grammar, style, clarity, and argument.”  At first glance, this is not a problem.  However, they’ve completely missed the boat on what English departments consider to be a good “argument.”  If the folks at ACTA were to read a basic survey of literary theory, they’d learn that English departments often teach that logic is racist and a “good argument” is one that supports leftist political views.  Plenty of English Composition programs assign their students essays that promote Leftist politics, use those essays as examples of effective style, and require students to write papers that mimic the readings’ political bent.  And since the literary theory ACTA didn’t read also declares “correct grammar” to be an unjust application of power by the privileged majority, it’s easy to see how that part of the course could be allowed to fall by the wayside… especially if it interferes with students passing the course.  Remember: if students don’t pass, they can’t pay the school more tuition dollars in future semesters.  The last place I taught at had a composition curriculum like what I describe here; that college gets passing marks from ACTA for composition.

Foreign Language:  They define an intermediate level of proficiency as three semesters of study.   If I worked in college admissions and wanted ACTA’s seal of approval on my website, I could find an easy way around this.  Normally, the textbook Destinos is used for Spanish 101 and 102. But: if my college gets creative, I can lobby to have the Spanish courses meet for 3 hours per week instead of four.  That means that we can teach Destinos in Spanish 101, 102, and 201.  It’s still the same content but now it’s 3 semesters and acceptable to ACTA.  (Or: we can let the courses remain at 4 hours per week and cash in on the extra tuition dollars!)  At least one college that receives a perfect score from ACTA uses the first-year textbook in 101, 102, 201, and 202; that school does not deserve recognition for its academics.

Moral of the Story: When looking at colleges, be sure to dig deeper.  There’s always something you’re not being told.

Proposed College Math Course: Pre-Algebra for Dummies

The only place it’s politically incorrect to call someone a dummy is in the classroom.  Just go to the bookstore and find the “For Dummies” book series.  Outside of our educational institutions, people often have a sense of humor about what they’re good at and what they’re not, even if they’re a little sensitive about it.  I  think it’s time for us to permit this kind of forthright honesty in our classrooms.

Therefore,  I would like to propose a course called “Pre-Algebra for Dummies.”  If you don’t know what entering college students can do these days, you can’t understand how much this course is needed.  Pre-Algebra is normally a course that is taught in Junior High, but I think we can redefine it so that it fits the needs of today’s students.  “Pre-” means “before,” and today’s kids need just about everything they were supposed to learn before Algebra: long division, multiplication tables, calculating averages, etc.   If we wanted to be really thorough, we could add some lessons like “I am not the center of the universe.”  The only problem is that their parents haven’t figured that out yet.  (Stupidity is obviously hereditary.)

But you may object!  Many students won’t need math in their professional lives and giving them a Pre-Algebra course in college will make them feel stupid.

First news flash: they can feel stupid now or they can feel stupid later, but they will feel stupid sometime.  I wonder how many people wouldn’t have had to suffer through a foreclosure if they could have understood the math behind the exploding ARM and other financial arrangements they were making.  You can’t dumb a mortgage contract down to such a low mathematical knowledge base.  However, you can make ignorant people feel good about an unwise decision that lets them “own” a house.

Second news flash: Even English teachers need to know how to calculate an average.  Their students will make them feel stupid if they botch that.  Trust me; students are fantastic at math when it comes to getting every last point they think they deserve.

Third news flash: Math majors from some universities (including state flagships) are not sufficiently proficient in math to teach the subject in middle school.   I’m sure there’s a joke there somewhere, but it looks like the joke’s on the 13-year-olds.

Fourth news flash: The only way you’re getting these kids through a “college-appropriate” math course without this extra preparation is to inflate their grades beyond all recognition.  Oh, wait… you’re doing that already.

Fifth news flash: You’re a dummy if you think protecting the kids’ self-esteem now will help them in the future, psychologically or professionally.  Just please don’t report me to the college’s diversity office for calling you a dummy.  From now on, I promise to respect and celebrate people of all intellectual capabilities.

The Swedish Chef Performs Neurosurgery

People sometimes need to be told what their talents aren’t.  I have seen students sucked into majors in which they had remarkably little talent… just because the professors needed more butts in the desks.  Of course, you can’t have half of your department’s majors flunking out of your classes, so you have to constantly tell them how good they are at the subject and give them grades to match so they’ll continue. First rule of college teaching: if you inflate your students’ self-esteem, you can inflate your department’s budget allocation.  And maybe you’ll even get a pay raise in the process.

And then sometimes you end up with professors who passed through the system in this manner, acquiring lots of self-esteem but very little knowledge.  The experience of taking one of their courses is a lot like watching the Swedish Chef perform neurosurgery.  You’ll see lots of colorful things flying through the air, but they’re all disconnected from any sort of larger body.  Brain cells get slaughtered, but onlookers get a good laugh.  After all, the Swedish Chef keeps his job by making his audience happy.   In the end, the entire experience is a bloodbath and a brain is left wishing that it had some real sustenance.

In spite of this, there are some benefits to having the Swedish Chef perform neurosurgery.  I’m sure that those brains, when tossed with the Chef’s favorite ingredients, would put any hospital’s food to shame.  Waste not, want not.

Proposed Chemistry Course: Postmodern Alchemy

As some of you may be aware, scholars in the humanities are often suspicious and even downright hostile towards the STEM fields.  According to them, people who claim that science reveals “knowledge” are playing a trick on everyone.  Science is said to be nothing more than the legitimation of certain views that work to exclude other ways of knowing.  A greater respect for other knowledge systems is urged.

With this in mind, I am proposing that the university offer a course on Postmodern Alchemy.  But you may object: alchemy has been completely debunked.  You would be correct with your objection, but none of that matters in today’s university.  If the English department can teach Freud as though he were still cutting-edge psychology and Marxism as though it were desirable, then why can’t the chemistry department teach alchemy?  All the subject needs is a good coating of postmodern theory to make it relevant.

And in all honesty, an alchemy course would succeed in creating gold.  Universities make money off of student enrollments and tons of students would file into a lecture hall to fulfill their science requirement with a course that requires no math.  Heck, the course doesn’t even require any science!  Students would always succeed at mastering the material because, after all, the failure to derive gold from other elements is at the heart of the subject.  And when the course has concluded, the college can inform students of how much their hard work is going to help them in their professional endeavors.  Students want to feel good about the work they’ve done and they’ll donate money to Alma Mater if you make them feel good enough about your educational product.

And so you can clearly see that a Postmodern Alchemy course is in the best interests of everybody.  Students get to keep their self-esteem and we get to squeeze gold out of blockheads.