Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Career Path Pitfalls

I'll be the first to tell you that I didn't get into teaching because of any passion for teaching; rather, it was the job that was available when I needed a job. My passion is for economics education. Where that coincides with teaching, I'm a happy, effective teacher. But that coincidence can be rare, and it seems it is becoming increasingly rare.

I have a lot to say about students who don't follow directions, don't read the syllabus, don't take responsibility for their learning outcomes. But I probably can't say it without getting in trouble if it was ever discovered. Let me just say that I find it increasingly difficult to respect the high-school teachers and parents of students who have reached adulthood without ever having to be responsible for a decision they've made. I'm not sure they realize they are making decisions; they speak as if they are constantly backed into a corner with only one way out. I would love to require students to couch all their e-mails to me in "I decided" language, meaning this fairly-typical (fictional) e-mail:

I will be unable to come to class today because of my grandmother's death.
would be written like this, instead:
I decided not to come to class today because I decided to attend my grandmother's funeral instead.
While it still ignores my policy of NEVER E-MAILING ME ABOUT YOUR ABSENCES, it at least presents the student as a rational free-agent instead of a helpless recipient of Fate.

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