Saturday, May 03, 2008

And After Giving You a Bad Grade, I'll Sue Your Sorry Ass

Well, this answers the question of why those claiming to be dissatisfied customers of mine ("Yeah, I was in that class and I think you suck too") need to vent anonymously about this post, rather than discussing our pedagogical differences in office hours. Apparently, at Dartmouth, classroom conflict has reached such a pitch that a teacher is suing her students. I had not realized that there are dimensions of my vast power to dominate others that I have not yet activated.

OK, seriously: I'm sure there is more to this than meets the eye, and both teacher and students have clearly run off the rails in what appears to be a Lord of the Flies situation. But I think the department chair and this woman's senior colleagues may have some explaining to do as to why there hasn't been a mentoring intervention at an earlier date. Things like this don't just happen suddenly, in one class, one semester. Do they? Enquiring minds want to know.

Thanks to my fellow Zenith bloggers for this tip. You might also want to go to University Diaries for several typically incisive posts offering commentary on and extra links for this sad little tale of a classroom run amok: the full story actually reads like one of those movies with Bruce Willis where a city bus full of children and old people has been taken over by terrorists and is careening through the streets of a city completely out of control while the mayor and the chief of police negotiate with an insane dictator. Except with email.

You know, here's a rule of thumb for you: when you can't decide how to respond to a typical academic problem, whether it be with a student, a colleague, or the university administration, ask yourself: what would Margaret Soltan do?

7 comments:

GayProf said...

Wait -- We can sue them?!?!? Where is that lawyer's number?

D said...

Here's a more or less insane interview she conducted with the Dartmouth newspaper. It's kind of long, but it's stuffed with headscratchers and gems from beginning to end.

"She was probably the most abrasive, the most offensive, the most disruptive student. She ruined that class. She ruined it. She ruined it."

Heather Munro Prescott said...

Looks like Dartmouth hasn't changed at all in the past twenty years since I last worked there (in the library). Back then, the _Review_ decided they were going to get rid of as many "radical" professors as possible by disrupting their classes and writing negative comments in their newspaper (this was long before "Rate My Professor.") Some professors, even a few with tenure, left in disgust when nothing was done about it. So much for minority retention.

Anonymous said...

When are you going to blog about the latest controversy over your university's treatment of visiting faculty?

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I think that the teacher is overreacting about it. Probably there are student that are taking things out of hand and they are harming him/her or his/her family and friend. Those cases are the one that the teacher should sue.

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