Friday, 10 May 2013

"You only talk about the material"

"Professor," laments my student today, "you only talk about the material. Other professors sometimes talk about social events or personal things, but you only talk about our class work."

And here I was, thinking that I have been slacking off a little bit and should in fact refocus so that I can get my students their money's worth --- but it seems that is not what they want after all. What they want is a teacher that shares personal stories and make social musings about the latest Hollywood gossip or other unrelated topics.

It is untrue that I never share personal anecdotes as this student who is in two of my classes well know. I share much of myself with them, but only in so far as it is relevant to the subject material. But that is the point, isn't it. They don't want to be bothered with the subject material.

As the student continued: "I know it is good for us [that you always focus on the material], but sometimes we are tired and don't want to think too hard." Well, I feel tired too and would sometimes love to just sit back and talk about the weather or the latest movies in the cinemas. But that's not what I get paid to do. I'm curious how the contracts of other professors in my department read. Maybe they have a clause that says that we can sometimes talk about the weather and the latest movies in the cinemas.

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