Monday, June 13, 2011

Give a man a fish...

A couple of recent posts, one by Chad and the other by the Female Science Professor, have me thinking about what we owe to our students.

For starters, I share with Chad an unbroken streak of graduations, but with the opposite polarity. That is, I've never attended my school's graduation ceremony. I don't like crowds, and don't relish having to make small-talk with seldom seen colleagues from across the University.

As for the FSP's commitment to students, for some classes I'll make a PDF of slides available, usually just a half-hour before class and I certainly don't print them out for students. In general, I severely limit how much time I spend on classes. With that said, I do feel a commitment to them, but generally prioritize avoiding diminishing returns. Talking with them, helping them understand, all that stuff I do without hesitation (except in rare cases where I can't stand a student). Elaborate preparation I avoid. Some of my best classes arise when I'm least prepared (though I don't think this should be taken as any sort of advice).

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