Sunday, August 26, 2007

Now is the summer of their discontent

My loyal fans, all two of them (perhaps I exaggerate), must have been wondering as to my fate. I sometimes wonder how these professional blogger types manage to conjure up something worth saying every day; or perhaps they don't but just say it anyway. Anyway, summer activities at Argonne are over; my days as a highly paid but under-respected TA are done; Dulcie and Aylwin's adventures in the Pacific Northwest are a thing of the past (observations to follow); the new term has just begun.

The new term has indeed begun and it is always exciting to meet the new crop of students. I hope that they don't take too much notice of Ratemyprofessor as my ratings have taken a bit of a pounding of late. Since we converted to semesters, the summer night chemistry class 1552 has become more intensified since we cover half a year in 8 weeks; under quarters, it was only a third of a year. I have noticed the impact on performance has been quite drastic. I am not sure that the students who enroll for the summer really anticipate how demanding that makes it. Naturally, some of those that struggle hold me entirely responsible for their grades. One suggests that I obviously don't like my job; another claims I must add my own ratings for else how could they be good. It is amusing to me that those peevish scribes who claim I cannot explain anything are the very ones that don't attend the lectures, never participate in anything, don't ask questions, hand in pathetically inadequate lab reports, never seek me out in the generous allocation of office hours. And, shock of shocks, they lament loudly an exam that interrogates ability.

I just hope the new students are not dissuaded by the torrent of negativity.