I Love It When

A Pressing Pauser, who happens to teach high school, approaches me after church in the narthex and says he doesn’t necessarily agree with me about college professors’ iffy pedagogy. And then thoughtfully explains that the older students are, the more they should adjust to their teachers since employers and the larger world won’t necessarily adapt to their individual learning preferences.

It’s at times like that I wish I had humble blog t-shirts to give away. Solid point. I went on to say, “Iffy Pedagogy—Take 3” was forming in the recesses of my pea brain. The final point in the series being that one other major, overlooked difference between his work and mine is that my students pay tens of thousands of dollars to attend, while some of his are only there because of compulsory attendance laws. More simply, K-12 teachers have to be masters of classroom management, my colleagues and I do not. When I roll into my seminar tomorrow at 11:30a, my students will all be there, having done the reading, ready to follow my lead, listening to and learning from one another.

Upon pointing that out, my friend proceeded to lament some of his ninth grade knuckleheads who it’s super difficult to get through to. Especially when there’s a gaggle in one class.

Of course, which educators deserve the most respect shouldn’t be a zero-sum competition. My primary point is that conventional wisdom, that profs deserve the most respect because they have the most education, is wrong. Elementary, middle, and high school teachers deserve at least the same amount of respect.

Over and out. That is, until hopefully, approached again by another active reader.




Saturday Assorted Links

1. UK Appoints a Minister of Loneliness.

“Throughout 2017 we have heard from new parents, children, disabled people, carers, refugees and older people about their experience of loneliness. Government research has found that about 200,000 older people in Britain had not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.”

Let’s not kid ourselves, this problem is not limited to the UK. Loneliness can be associated with. . .

“a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and anxiety.”

2. How to Maintain Friendships.

“Ms. Nelson also suggests being aware of the three areas to measure and evaluate a functional friendship. The first area is positivity: laughter, affirmation, gratitude and any acts of service. The second is consistency, or having interactions on a continual basis, which makes people feel safe and close to each other. The third is vulnerability, which is the revealing and the sharing of our lives.

“Any relationship that doesn’t have those three things isn’t a healthy friendship,” Ms. Nelson said. If you’re noticing a cooling with a friend, usually one of these areas needs special consideration.”

Friendships are organic; consequently, I’d suggest “reflecting upon” instead of measuring and evaluating.

3. No One Wants Your Used Clothes Anymore.

“. . . this could add up to an environmental disaster in the making.”

I’m going to do my part by buying less.

4. Why Don’t Norwegians Immigrate to the U.S.?

I was proud of the Gal Pal Monday morning in Victoria, BC’s Hotel Grand Pacific Garden Cafe for her skilled eavesdropping. Her smile and raised eye brow alerted me to a sixty-something man reading an article like this one to his wife. Between a steady stream of international statistics, he’d repeat, “Yeah, why would a Norwegian think of immigrating to the U.S.?!”

With lakes like this, reverse migration is more likely.


5. A tiny insect stands between a billionaire and his golf course.

Such great pictures.

College Professors’ Iffy Pedagogy—Take 2

The tendency to assign more academic texts than students can realistically read closely isn’t the only, or even primary difference, between many higher education faculty and the best K-12 teachers.

The single greatest difference is most college professors expect their students to adapt to their teaching methods. In contrast, the most effective K-12 teachers learn early on to adapt their teaching methods to the various ways their students learn. As a result, accomplished K-12 teachers have many more methodological arrows in their quivers.

In elementary, middle, and high schools, the onus of adaptability is on the teachers to “differentiate instruction”. In higher education, the onus of adaptability is almost always on the students.

This is some far-fetched shit*, but imagine if the chairs of academic departments in colleges and universities across the country invited a handful of the most excellent K-12 educators from their communities to talk to their faculty about the myriad, student-centered ways, they promote genuine learning.

University students everywhere would be indebted to those enlightened chairs.

*just trying to sound Presidential


College Professors’ Iffy Pedagogy

Successful elementary, middle, or high school educators could teach a typical professor a shitload* about teaching excellence.


Because apart from a few more years of schooling, professors are like everyone else, meaning prone to insecurities, insecurities that often contribute to status anxiety about whether one is smart enough.

Consequently, on rare occasions that professors assemble to talk teaching, there’s often an odd, overly formal dynamic, devoid of authentic questions or humor. At faculty workshops where course syllabi are shared, the singleminded focus is on being more rigorous than the last person. “Well, you think your students are reading a lot of pages. . . ” “Well, you think your students are writing a lot. . . ” etc.

“How much,” no one ever dares ask, “can students realistically read closely and carefully?” When it comes to assigned reading in particular, there’s never any consideration of a point of diminishing return.” When I summarized this dilemma with my uber-smart, conscientious International Honors students in class recently, they laughed out loud at the naivety of faculty for thinking they’re reading everything that’s assigned. It was no different in 1984 when finishing up my history major, I had three history courses in a 10-week quarter, each with 7-8 books. I didn’t even buy all of them.

Rigor also means favoring academic texts over everything else, full stop, amen, forever and ever. Never mind the quality of long form journalism today; or the quality of wondrously diverse multimedia content; or heavens for bid, popular books.

*just trying to sound Presidential