10/13/2012

College is Not Supposed to Be Easy

The past two terms where I teach, I have run up against a palpable sense of entitlement that I'm struggling with. It's as if, somewhere along the lines, all the students feel they got a memo that says "Hey, you've paid your tuition, your work here is done." Because it certainly doesn't seem like the majority of them want to expend any effort whatsoever to a) learn and b) pass the class. (The two do not always go hand in hand. I'm sorry to say I have passed a number of students, because they earned the points by the skin of their teeth, who honestly have learned next to nothing.)

Last term I was inundated with cheaters. Bold ones, at that. They copied from the Internet, changed nothing (not even bothering to put their names on the programs - though I guess I prefer that to the one who added the honor code statement to the program before turning it in) and then got ticked at me for turning them in. I had a student review that said, "This teacher accused me of plagiarism simply because my code was identical to code found online." Well, yeah. I did.

Cause here's the thing - it's like the monkeys in a room with typewriters coming up with Shakespeare. If you really do the work all on your own? It's not going to be identical to the stuff online. It may end up similar - but I can tell the difference between similar and copied. I can even tell the difference between copied with a brief attempt to make it different and something someone did on their own.

By the end of the term, I dreaded grading. Dreaded it. And I seriously considered just letting it go - but they pay me to care and to try and ensure some kind of academic rigor. Or at least, that's part of what I think they pay me for (maybe I'm wrong, maybe they just want people to pass classes and keep enrolling in new ones...but I really don't think so. If I ever do feel that way, more than likely I'll quit teaching there.)

This term is off to a slightly better start...though I did have one student turn in their program a week late. Written in a language that is not the one we're studying. So far they haven't said anything about the 0 that earned them.

I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep it up, to be honest. I used to really enjoy it. I'm down to mostly enjoying it most of the time. Much less enjoyment and I don't think the annoyance and time will be worth the pittance in my bank account. Even typing that makes me sad, I enjoy being a teacher. But that's really the crux of the issue, I want to be a teacher. Not a cheerleader. Not a police officer. And definitely not a babysitter.

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