Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Novelty has Worn Off

Semester 2 has started.  I don't know whether it's because it is my 2nd semester or that it's just a regular term without the promise of student teaching at the end, but it's already dragging.  I remember being surprised at how fast things moved in the fall, this time I am annoyed at how slow everything is.  The first lecture in each class was so slow.  It was the traditional go through the syllabus in excruciating detail followed by a promise of more interesting material the next class.

There is a serious difference in the attitudes my classmates have as well.  Last term they were all trying their hardest to be professional.  Textbooks were bought before classes began, readings were done, groups were immediately formed for the group projects and dates set to start working.  This time?  It's as if no one cares.  It's going to be hard to keep the momentum going that I established last term.  I do find it surprising to see the difference in how other people approach things.  Comments about proffs is a big one.  Last term, even when I knew they didn't like the instructor, they were still polite and refrained from making overt comments.  This term, people seem to feel free to be as derogatory as they like.

The main one that is blowing my mind is the way people are dealing with our Inclusive Education professor.  He is deaf.  He teaches through 2 interpreters.  This does mean there is a slight lag between when a question is asked and when it is answered, but I'm really impressed with how seamlessly it all works.  What has me shocked is that people have left his section because they find this process "annoying" and are irritated with the way it works.  I remember people last term talking about him with an entirely different voice.  What a fundamental example of "not getting it"...  It makes me angry when I think about how people talk about him.  And then it makes me very sad for their future students with special needs.

It is also frustrating to hear the whining.  People want everything for nothing.  One of our classes has assignments that are all or nothing in terms of grades.  It's a computer class which assumes very minimal prior knowledge.  The decision, which I agree with, is that they want to assess the material being taught and not what people know from before.  So, if you do the assignments (meet 75% of the requirements) then you get the marks.  Interestingly, the main complaints aren't coming from other people who know alot about computers, but from the students who know some and were hoping that would give them an advantage.  I think it's a good system.  There are still the exams to do really well on.

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