Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Mr. K seems to have a bladder infection. The vet was stumped yesterday because it didn't seem like he did have one, but in the end, it turns out that is the problem. (Although there's also the backburner possibility of some kind of "rare" strain of diabetes, whatever that is.) Anyway, he's started antibiotics tonight, so barring rare diabetes-ness, he'll be much better in no time. Thank you to all - especially T.E. and Maude! - for your suggestions and good vibes. This is a major relief!


Also, on teaching, from which students have been fleeing: Things are going awesomely. As they did last term in my first-year class, and for the first half of the upper-year course. This term, my first-years? They absolutely rock. Chatty and confident and radical. My upper-years + two grad students? Incredibly inquisitive and attentive and right there with me and the material. The vibe in both classes is great, perfect from my perspective: casual but rigorous. So yeah, I wish there was some way of showing Chairs and Deans and such that things actually go really swimmingly in my classes, with the people who stick around because they're not scared away by the workload. The idea that the future is going to be determined solely by attrition/drop rates is frustrating.


medieval woman said...

Hilaire, you're one of the best, most ispiring teachers I've ever heard of - it's the quality not the quantity. "Why are students dropping out of your classes?", the Chair says? "Because they cannot handle the frisson of my greatness" you say!

I'm so glad your classes are going well - and I would sell a couple of my toes to have only 35 students!

dbm/gaa said...

Yeah for Mr. K! I hope he gets better, and fast!

Note to your Dean. If you hire the best, then expect other people to be intimidated. If you hire for rigour, then expect the bar to be raised, and students to have a period of adjustment. If you hire at all give the new person more than ONE TERM to figure out the new culture and expectations, and help them do it positively not punitively.


Thoroughly Educated said...

Good news all around!

Can you get a senior colleague to observe your classes occasionally and informally and write up the observation, so you have a record to show the higher-ups? Or even invite the bigwigs themselves.

Hilaire said...

MW - Aw, thanks for always being my cheerleader. Would that I could say that to them!! :)

Grumpy - Very well put - thank you. Positively, not punitively. That is the question. I feel like the ways I am talked to in my faculty context are often bizarrely punitive, and I am just sick of it. I feel like I'm being rapped on the knuckles and lectured to by my Dean all the time. (NOt by my Chair, and not in this case, because it was she who delivered the message.)

T.E. - That is a very good idea. I may well get my Chair to attend. Thanks for the suggestion.