How To Interview Professional Athletes

Fellow UCLA homie, Russell Westbrook is hella surly, especially after losses. Shooting 29% from deep will do that to you. If you ever get a chance to interview him after a(nother) Laker loss, follow this reporter’s three-step formula—stroke his ego, stroke his ego, stroke his ego.

Watch from 2:17-3:05.

Pre and Post-Pandemic. . . What’s Different?

Besides, obviously, a lot of people having died.

Many “experts” made bold predictions about how the world would never be the same, but looking back now, they were mostly wrong.

Most people who worked in offices still do. Most people still go to doctors’ offices. Most schools aren’t any more on-line than they were during “Before Times”.

People prefer working out in gyms and eating out at restaurants. More generally, people enjoy doing things outside their homes with others.

To a large extent, we’ve returned to our “Before Times” setpoints.

One noticeable difference in my small, upper left-hand corner of the world is that there are more cycling groups attracting more people. Peloton’s stock was down 60% last year. From my anecdotal vantage point, group rides are up about the same amount.

What else has changed for reals?

Wednesday Required Reading

I Failed

How will large language models/artificial intelligence change K-12 education? Maybe the better question is will large language modes/artificial intelligence change K-12 education? Through teaching, research, and writing, I spent most of my academic career trying to make high schools more democratic, more international, more personal, and more relevant and purposeful.

I’m sad to report that I failed bigly. The fact of the matter is, except for all the surreptitious texting under desks, the typical high school today functions remarkably similar to the way Cypress (California) High School did when I graduated in 1980. What other institution in American life can you say that about?

Lesson learned. K-12 education is incredibly resistant to change. Like YouTube, surely ChatGPX-like devices will have some effect, but probably not enough to fundamentally alter the teacher-student relationship. One education scholar uses an ocean metaphor to explain the futility of education reform. Schedule tweaks, new curriculum initiatives, education technologies, all create changes on the surface of the ocean just as high winds do. Descend to the ocean floor however, meaning the teacher-student relationship in the classroom, and the water’s darkness, chemistry, and animal life are completely unaffected by the tumult on the surface. The teacher still mostly talks and the students listen.

Despite it being so obvious, it wasn’t easy to admit my my failure, you know, professional identity and ego and all. But the consolation is a quiet confidence that I have made a positive difference in a lot of individual teacher’s lives. Despite not having dented their work environment, I have made meaningful contributions to their professional success. I’ve failed, but I’m not a failure.

And even though I’ve admitted defeat and let go of my teacher education identity, I am still helping individual teachers on occasion, just fewer of them. Yesterday, for example, one of my first year writers from Fall 2021, a prospective teacher, wrote me seeking advice. Here’s how she started her missive:

“I hope all is well! I am reaching out to you because I need some advice. I figured you would be an excellent person to reach out to because you are part of the education faculty and have taught abroad and done things I want to do with my life. I also think you won’t sugarcoat things and you will tell me the truth.” 

I liked that she didn’t think I’d “sugarcoat things”. So, in that spirit of keeping it real, I predict high schools in 43 years, make that 2066, will still look and feel pretty damn similar. Given my protein bar consumption, it’s unlikely I’ll live long enough to see if my prediction comes true. I hope it does not.

Postscript: Not an “institution”, but same idea.

Where To Begin?

We now know everything is made up, but there’s so much more that offends. Capitalizing “Sales”. Listing “Financial” as a skill as in “I am highly skilled in Financial.”

And you gotta love the 3.89 g.p.a. at the made up school. 3.75 wouldn’t impress enough apparently, but 4.0 might raise suspicion. So split the difference.

I wish my representative was a skilled “Currency and coin counter”.

Why Did Hamline University Tell Erika Lopez Prater Her Services Were No Longer Needed?

According to this book, American higher education is captive of the Radical Left and the “woke mob” to the detriment of students.

This illuminating case study about an adjunct art history professor who showed a painting of the prophet Muhammad and lost her job suggests some colleges are restricting academic freedom to stem the tide of enrollment decline.

“Arguments over academic freedom have been fought on campuses for years, but they can be especially fraught at small private colleges like Hamline, which are facing shrinking enrollment and growing financial pressures. To attract applicants, many of these colleges have diversified their curriculums and tried to be more welcoming to students who have been historically shut out of higher education.”

It suggests this phenomenon is not the result of a vast left wing conspiracy; instead, it’s demographics plain and simple.

Attempting to slow enrollment decline does not justify giving up on academic freedom. It’s a dead-end strategy with negative ripple effects including declining faculty morale, and quite possibly, fewer promising applicants for faculty positions.

Related: Why Some Students Are Skipping College