Friday, May 26, 2006


The beginner's Spanish course I applied for has been cancelled, due to low enrollment. I'm disappointed. Not a surprise really. Can't imagine the students at our university wanting to learn Spanish, or anything else, for that matter.

The exam fiasco I mentioned in the last post, is not quite over yet, despite all the extra hours I'd put in to mop the mess up. So this is what I'd done. I'd announced after the exam that those worried about having been disadvantaged due to the blunder should email me asap. Then I sent all students in the class an email repeating the same message. Then two days ago I sent another email telling them the deadline for voicing their concern would be yesterday noon. Yet, I was still receiving emails this morning, 20 hours after the deadline, from these idiots, saying they want to “appeal". No apologies, no explanations, no fucking nothing. Even their messages were 90% copied from the one I sent them. Do I look like I can read minds? Are they illiterate? Are they insane?

All the more ironic since I have to be interviewed by a panel for this year's teaching award. I will have to share with them my teaching philosophy. Preview below:

Can you tell us about your teaching philosophy?

Well, you know, I do what I have to do.

Which is...?

I do what I have to do to teach what I have to teach to those whom I have to teach.

I see... Do you mind giving us an example? Something more specific so that we can have a better idea...

Basically, what I do is simplify concepts and theories as much as I can, to the lowest level possible. And I mean lowest. Rock bottom. Say, Marxism is represented by a triangle, postmodernism is a shapeless chameleon, industrialism is a dirty chimney, and so on. I try to stick to the primary colours because they don't know that many others. Animal analogies could be tricky too, because they don't know the names of many animals. They don't know what an orangutan is, for example.

They don't know what an orangutan is?

That's right, they don't.

Okay... well... (mops brow with hand) Er, how about your relationship with your students? How would you describe it?

Well, some of them like me, I guess, since they nominated me for this award. Can't say the feeling is mutual though.

You don't ... like your students?

That's right. I don't. How could I? How could anyone? Apart from their parents, maybe. I don't know. I don't understand what goes on in this world half the time. Most of the time. I don't know if I'm the only person who don't like my students. I have no idea. Are they likeable? Well to me they're not. But someone must like them I guess. They are God's creations, so God must love them. But does that mean God LIKES them?

What do you think of them then? Your students, I mean. Given that you are quite plain about the fact that you don't like them.

Well, all I can say is, I thank the Lord for my myopia, since all I have to do is not wear my glasses in class and I save myself from having to look stupidity in the face.

I beg your pardon? (I see a serious squint)

Save myself from having to look stupidity in the face, sir.

Are you calling your students stupid? (mops brow again)

Yes, I am. Is there something wrong with your... oh, nevermind.

................... (they all looking at one another now)

Pierre, I must say I am disturbed by your comments. As a teacher...

Yes Dr Pierre, as the student representative on this panel, I find your comments disturbing too.

I'm just being honest here for crying out loud. No need to freak out! People! I mean professors! Students! Please! C-H-I-L-L!!!!

Pierre, your ideas about teaching and about students can hardly be called exemplary.

Does this mean I'm not getting the $10,000? Oh well... never mind... Disappointment is part of life. I should know.

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