Wednesday, August 01, 2007

They exist, therefore they're special

Another college prof deals with the "But I'm special!" attitude by today's students. Here's the story in today's FW Star-Telegram.

Back soon with more posts. It's been a busy teaching summer.


Anonymous smirktastic said...

Nice to have you back!

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is your theatre review programme?


4:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teachers and students have fundamentally different perspectives on the performance of an individual student in a classroom, a dynamic that Mr. Rogers has nothing to do with. When students receive a poor grade for a paper or exam, they note that they have often received better grades for work that required less effort or thought from their perspective, and they're probably right. Hence it seems unfair. The instructor notes that other students in the class did better work, and so the grade seems fair.

My guess is that any instructor who believes as the author of that newspaper article appears to, that students who feel their work was graded unfairly have no basis other than "entitlement" for doing so, was probably once the same kind of student who couldn't acknowledge that his instructor had different evidence and, hence, a different perspective.

This issue received a lot of research attention in the social psychological literature back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, although I'm out of town and can't think of a citation now.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, do you enjoy teaching? I work in the service industry, and your posts (and the articles you point us to) remind me of things I would say about my customers. Ultimately, I've become so jaded that I've been debating a job change. I used to love people, but after serving tables, I generally hate everybody -- that's not a good state to be in. Even though I love my job and the people I work with, it seems like it's making me unhappy. It sounds like teaching has done similar things to you -- especially when it comes to people who are basically self-entitled jerks.

Ironically, college students are often the most gracious customers, even if some don't know how to tip correctly. (Actually, the few SMU students I get in my restaurant are usually the best! But then again, I don't hand out their grades.)

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was at SMU, getting your grade changed was essentially an art form. I knew several students who as a matter of course went in to each of their professors after getting their grade and lobbied to get bumped up. For some, it worked almost every time they did it. Coincidentally, my good looking friends were the best at it. I remember that at the start of the semester my roomate would go to all of his professors from the previous semester and start his campaign. It probably worked for him three out of four times. I think the professors would often get so annoyed by him that they would just change his grade to get him to go away. One, in fact, finally just asked him what he would have to change his grade to in order for him to just go away.

I don't know what to make of it. Maybe those students were just honing their negotiation skills or showing a willingness to fight for what they wanted even if they knew they didn't deserve it. Maybe they were just used to getting what they wanted because they were rich and good looking? I don't know. If it worked, why not do it? I never tried to do it because I really didn't care enough to take the time and I figured I couldn't really go lobby for a better grade to a professor who wouldn't even recognize that I was one of his/her students because I had only been to the class a few times.


8:31 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

"Today's parents "are the best-educated generation ever," says Rosenfeld. "So why do our kids see us primarily discussing kids' schedules and activities?"

He encourages parents to talk about their passions and interests; about politics, business, world events."

Hear, hear. We've been self employed (meaning working out of the house) all our 25 years of marriage, while raising 3 daughters. So that's all they DID hear us discussing all the time - politics, business and world events. It was our life. And they were included in it, taught by it.

I could never bear the thought of becoming a soccer mom, where the kids' lessons and sports practices took up SO much of that precious and valuable family time after school and before bed.

We did gymnastics, piano and basketball for a while with each of them, so I wasn't a total loser mom, depriving them of "lessons". But if they didn't show a true passion for any of it after a while, we dropped it. Our focus was always on sussing out whatever their particular talent/passion was, and supporting that, rather than trying to make them into something they weren't.

Our eldest is now a professional photographer, the mid-kid is a successful chef, and the youngest is in nursing school.

They never ONCE went to their profs to ask for a grade bump. It wouldn't have occurred to them to do so.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That shows that the profs are enablers. If the grades were static no matter what, you would not have the kids asking for a better grade.

Since it seems to work, why not.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Hey Prof:

Looks like Karl Rove may be coming to your town to make sure the GWB Lieberry has all the correct spins in place.

Lucky you!

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Kevin, our children were exposed to the work of my me and my husband.
We worked out of the home, too. Therefore, both of our children knew what deadlines were, and they were taught to repsect them. They were also learned about the world of reading and literature, as well as journalism and politics. My husband is an advertising copywriter and I am a journalist.

Today, one child works as a production manager at the Walt Disney Animation Studio and my son just got a job at an oil and gas firm in Houston. Both of my children have worked since they were 14 years-old. They are working hard now, too. I think they learned the value of hard work by watching their mom and dad work.

It's been rewarding. It's also been hard, because they were privy to our difficult financial times, too. Not so sure this was good for them, though.

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Anonymous interview facts you probably dont know said...

You have so many stories in your mind: good and bad. Teaching is a hard work. You have to deal with all your students. Sometimes it is exhausting.

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