Thursday, April 13, 2006


My wife says that one way to deal with anger and stress is to write about it. This is what I am about to do. Please ignore this if you don't want to hear the regular bitching once again.

Fuck Mall University!!
Fuck them for having no educational standards!
Fuck them for treating me like a goddamn temp!
Fuck them for putting me in a job with no training and no idea of what I am supposed to be doing!
Fuck them for pressuring me to inflate my students' grades!
Fuck them for telling me, right before I do my grading:
"You should probably be aiming for about a B average."
Fuck them for telling me:
"We don't like to call it grade inflation. We call it 'wiggle room'".
Fuck them for telling me:
"Well, everyone around here inflates grades!"
Fuck them for firing me because of some vaguely defined complaint from some mystery source! Fuck them for firing me in my first semester because of some vaguely defined complaint in a student evaluation!

Lastly, fuck them for making this statement in the school newspaper in regards to student demands about TAs:

Rittner also stated that her department takes student evaluations of TAs very seriously.

"We use mid-semester evaluations in which students are able to give honest input about their TAs," she said. "If TAs have to be yanked from their position to benefit students, then we would most certainly do that."

And, you know, I'm not against the idea of laying off people if need be, but what she doesn't say is that this is their first, and only, step. No job training! No goddamn assistance in doing the goddamn job! Just "yanked" if the kids aren't having fun. Fuck them! Fuck them! Fuck them!

Thank you. I feel better.


The Pagan Temple said...

Bingo, now the mystery is solved. So, they are demanding that you inflate student grades, and at the same time are letting it be known to all that they "take student evaluation of ta's very seriously".

So, what student is going to give a good evaluation to a teacher that won't give said student "wriggle room". What a fucking joke, I don't blame you for being pissed, Rufus.

Hiromi said...

"If TAs have to be yanked from their position to benefit students, then we would most certainly do that."


I know a woman who teaches African-American studies. She gets the most unbelievable crap from her frat-boy students. One thing she absolutely doesn't enourage is grade inflation. She considered firing her TAs for that reason.

This one student in her class, after receiving full points on an essay from the TA said, out loud, "I can't believe I got 20 points! I totally bullshitted!"

The professor changed her grade.

Rufus said...

I think the kids mean well. But, the problem is they've been getting As for very little work all throughout High School. Nobody here makes them privy to "wiggle room", but grade inflation is so rampant that I find they get indignant when they get the appropriate grade on an assignment. And they usually respond in kind on the evaluations. So, you figure out pretty quick that inflated grades= good evaluations.

Which is why basing people's job on the evaluations is another way of encouraging inflated grades.

Rufus said...

Does she have tenure? That usually makes the difference. The tenured professors don't stand for that shit. The one who wanted me to inflate the grades hasn't made tenure yet. Her first year at Mall University, she got into trouble with the administration for "giving too many Ds", which is, logically, her fault and not the fucking students. Right? Of course. It does boggle the mind.

jingyang said...

Hi, just discovered this blog, thanks to Hiromi.
This post reminded me something my prof told me when I was doing MA study in New Zealand two years ago. The university is government funded, $X per number of students per course. Now, some bureaucrat worked out that 30% of the students never completed their courses, and decided that this meant that 30% of the government's money was being wasted. Accordingly, the directive came down that the universities should aim for only 20% being wasted....easiest way for universities to comply? No prizes for guessing.

Rufus said...

Yeah, with us, someone came up with an economic model in which our university is 'failing' if we don't increase our 'access' (meaning it should be much easier for people to get admitted) and aim for full 'retention' (meaning almost nobody should flunk). They pretty much tell the assistant professors how many they can flunk, often after they've done the grades, but before they submit them.

jingyang said...

your comments above about 'economic models' et al, remind me of bureaucrats and administration bullshit. One difference I noticed between my undergraduate study in the late 1980s and when I went back to do postgraduate study in 2002..was the increase in the number of administrators around the place. Very odd. I overheard a discussion in my department about the replacement process for the Dean of the department. In the 1980s the Dean also taught courses,but now is apparently a fulltime administrator. The staff were discussing how the appointment process had been done, (which took about a year) and how at the last moment the selected candidate had pulled out, and the process needed to begin again. The staff (privately) were unanimous in saying that they didn't mind this in the slightest, the department was running fine, and that a fulltime 'administrator' would simply make life more difficult for them. Very enlightening for me I must say.

Rufus said...

Yes! They metastasized! The buggers are crawling around everywhere at my university! I have to go through four offices to get anything done! It's totally top-heavy, and our common complaint is that we could do away with the lot of them and the place would run fine. Seriously, "management" is a sort of sickness of the soul.