My new favourite blog

Clarissa’s blog. The author is a prolific and engaging writer, a professor of Spanish literature whose interests range very widely. This morning she complained, rightly, about teachers who whine about students using their smart-phones during class:

Some people are going completely bonkers with this idea that students need to be policed to prevent them from using technology in the classroom. It has been suggested that we get the students to sign a contract (WTF?) at the beginning of the semester where they would promise not to turn on their cell phones and other devices and would agree to any penalties that will be given to them as a result of breaking this contract.

It has also been suggested that we make the students remove their cell phones and laptops and leave them at the front of the classroom.

What’s next, searching their  pockets and personal belongings before letting them enter the classroom?

And then people wonder why students don’t respect them. You can’t earn respect by acting in such a desperate, pathetic way. You can only earn respect by respecting both the students and yourself.

I especially love it how often my colleagues complain about the students’ immaturity. How can we expect them to act maturely if we treat them like infants?

And you know what I find really confusing? If a person chooses for whatever reason to pay good money to hear your lectures yet decides that updating her Facebook or emailing his friends is more important than getting his or her money’s worth, why should you care? This last semester I had a student who knew she was failing the course from the start yet chose to spend the entire semester staring at her laptop screen. As a result, she failed the course. This was her choice and she is now living with its consequences, which is an important life lesson. Why should I have demeaned myself in front of the entire classroom and turned myself into a nursery teacher just in order to get between this woman and her choice to fail?

P.S. Now a colleague has joined the discussion with a complaint against faculty members who use cell phones during meetings and official ceremonies. I wish people realized that this desire to police the actions of others is nothing but a manifestation of repressed rage.

I also like her takes on Asperger’s Syndrome.

June 5: I’ve recommended Clarissa’s blog over at my other place of business, NoContest.CA.

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