Thursday, August 04, 2005

From the Village Voice

The Undercover Mother story! Wow! Thanks to the reader who suggested it. A 55-year-old anthropoogy prof goes back to college -- dorm life and everything -- because she says she no longer understands the younger generation. Great reading here. Check it out.

And here is this week's adventure in theatergoing -- my column in the Dallas Observer.

11 Comments:

Blogger Ianqui said...

Thanks for the link, but frankly, that Village Voice article was totally disappointing. The Undercover Mother wants to know why "they never did their reading and when they came to class, they slept or played with their cell phones." Great! I want to know why too! And maybe the author says why in her book, but the article shouldn't have raised that point early on and then not addressed it later. In fact, it hardly says anything about the psychology of college students--it mostly talks about the Mother's experience in class and on campus.

If you were grading this article, would you give it a good grade?

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This issue was discussed on IHE

Many seem to think she was unethical and inaccurate.

http://insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/13/frosh

But, I agree -- freshman girls are stupid.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Angel, librarian and educator said...

Thanks for pointing the article as well. I think the point the other reader missed seems addressed more in what the Mother found than what she actually wrote. Students are not doing their reading because they seem to be doing pretty much everything except stuff dealing with class. Having said that, some things never change (it does not sound that much different than when I was an undergrad, other than more technology). At any rate, I am making a note of the books name to read when it comes out. Sounds like it might be interesting, even if some of the content is just confirming things I knew. We'll see. By the way, the article from Inside Higher Ed suggested by the anonymnous commenter is worth reading as well. Actually, it looks like Mother did more than her duty to remain ethical, but let readers decide.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Hillabeans said...

"I would have preferred less noise, drama, throwing up, but it made me a better professor,"

This sort of disturbs me.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, having finished my freshman year this spring, I can only commiserate with her. I think I too would have preferred less noise, drama, and throwing up. I suppose we can't always get what we want, unfortunately. I only wish one of my roommates (I lived in a suite-style residence, not a traditional one. Thus, roommates) hadn't been so gosh-darned wonderful and considerate that he threw up in front of the door and then passed out, on numerous occasions.

"I would have preferred less noise, drama, throwing up, but it made me a better professor,"

This sort of disturbs me.


Well, I think it disturbs me, as well. With the declining quality of students (this is true in Canada, as well) I'd rather see professors not lose that "edge" that allows them to fail slackers without even the slightest flutterings of an unsure conscience.

I would have liked to have seen more insights in the article as to the psychology of my compatriots. It would have been great fun, but I suppose I'll have to wait 'till the book comes out.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

I got a laugh out of the anonymous person flaming her for using a pseudonym during her research.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Phoebe said...

I'm a 45-year-old woman who wishes to finally finish her B.A. I started attending a local university, but am NOT living on campus, thank goodness.
My fears of sticking out like a mom in the middle of a campus full of students my own son's age were allayed on my first day of class. I was sitting there trying to execute the Jedi Mind Trick on the other students to make them not notice me at all. But when that didn't work, I found their attentions kind of cute:
"Are you a graduate student, or what?" is one of the questions I get asked. Sometimes classmates even wave to me in passing on the campus.
The best thing about going back to school, besides the incredible brain candy, is finding out what kind of world my son lives in. I was privy to many conversations about parties, love, drugs, and sex that my son and his friends would never have let me in on. The students don't feel threatened by me because I am just a non-judgmental listener who asks them for advice on how alarmed I should or should not be about things my son says or does. My experiences interacting with these young college students have made me a more compassionate, understanding parent. I push the panic button far less often than I used to, and now my son acts more responsibly because he wants to, not because I get hysterical on him.
Another interesting aspect about going to college at this age is that I am often older than my professors. I think this makes the professors a little on edge because I probably look like one of those helicopter moms who come into their offices and demand they give Brad an 'A.'
Because I stand out more, it takes people -- students and professors -- a little longer than usual to feel at ease around me.

Your blog is one of my new-found favorites.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous lucille said...

In all fairness to collge students, Mr. Meatsweats, and so on, I do want to tell this story. I had a "Brad" of the slightly alterna- or hippie type in a class a long time ago. He was good looking and a class clown and his writing was atrocious. One day he showed up at my office and told me he knew he wasn't doing very well, but that he thought he needed extra help and wanted to explain why. "My education stopped around 8th grade," he said, "because that's when my stepdad started beating the crap out of me. I didn't start to catch up till I left home." He said he was doing double-time, but still struggling. He wrote down every long word I said on an index card and asked me for the definition, saying he was improving his vocabulary bit by bit. So we spent the rest of the semester in tutorials. It's true, he could have been faking, but why would he then come faithfully to every tutorial? I definitely learned not to immediately write off the cocky, good-looking guys, however entitled they seemed.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Gene said...

1. You're welcome. (I'm the one who suggested the item)

2. What the heck is [anthropoogy]?

A slip of the finger doth endanger the eternal soul?

10:26 AM  
Anonymous lulu said...

I agree. KING UBU ROCKED! I enjoyed it so much, I had to see it twice. And thanks for mentioning Zach. He needs all the friends he can get right now.

3:31 PM  
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