What a former college instructor really thinks…

Posts tagged “students

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.

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.

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.