Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Disciplining Your Class: How Not To Go About It

Mark P. Talbert, a senior lecturer at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, is having a bad week.  Not only did he go berserk in front of his class, the episode was recorded by a university video system, which means the quality is better than what is produced by your average cell phone held in the air by a student.  Oh yeah, and it also means the tape is in possession of university officials, who are investigating, according to Inside Higher Ed.  Talbert's little breakdown was triggered by a very loud, and I suppose facetious, yawn.  Roll the videotape!



If it isn't bad enough that Talbert exposed his students to this ill-humored rant (my favorite part is where he tells the class that they are just going to stay there until the culprit confesses), he has now exposed himself to the slings and arrows of everyone on the Internet too, and many of them are ROTFLTAO.  A discussion of the merits of losing your $hit in front of an entire class appended to the YouTube posting include one gem that will keep me laughing all day tomorrow:  "OMG i wonder what he would do if someone farted...I think he would kill all of them. lol."

16 comments:

Roxie Smith Lindemann said...

Whoa, dude, chill OUT! I think somebody needs to make an Xtranormal cartoon to manage his aggression, don't you? I mean, wow. Just, WOW!

Comrade PhysioProf said...

If the fucken students are yawnings, it's because YOU ARE A FUCKEN BORING DOUCHEBAGGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HEAL THYSELF@!!!!!!!!!!!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

You know, I do call students out for yawning, but only a very gentle, "Cover your mouth when you do that, please." Very mom of me -- I also tell them to sit up straight. I do it with good humor, but I do believe that making students aware of good manners in the little ways makes them think about the big things. But making a huge production of it? How is that productive to good classroom conduct?

Anonymous said...

In a decade or so of teaching, I've certainly seen my share of bad classroom behavior, but overly loud yawning is not one of them. LOL.

And he broke the cardinal rule: don't lose your cool in front of a whole class.

Historiann said...

OMG. All of a sudden, I'm grateful that I teach in broken-down basements and not-so-smart rooms. Were I to flip out--and it could happen--at least I won't be "caught on tape!"

HEE-hee.

If he had done like Notorious suggests, he'd have most of the class on his side, because I'm sure they were annoyed by the childish douche who was doing the theatrical yawning. Remember "Spy vs. Spy?" This just descends quickly into a Mad-magazine like "Douche vs. Douche" cartoon.

Becki H said...

I still remember when my 9th grade Spanish teacher told us she hated us all. I would agree that I had some very disrespectful classmates who made it hard to pay attention in class. However, her telling us how much she hated us really just made it worse for her. Good going teacher.

Anonymous said...

Yep, a really bad day. I'm amazed that the students didn't just walk out en masse. I think that's what I might have done.

On the flip side though - it raises some interesting questions about how/if university security cameras should be (are being) used in disciplinary matters. Recently our admins revealed that there are literally thousands of security cameras on our campus, and there has been a suggestion that they might be used to see whether faculty are really holding office hours, whether we arrive on time to class, whether we use our class time effectively, etc., etc. All of which raises hackles.

Northern Barbarian said...

How about recognizing that the kids are exhausted at this time of the semester? I once had a student who sat there and studied for another exam during my class (at a SLAC; no hiding in the back!) The other students were glaring at him and I was of course furious, but I went up to him after class and reamed him out but good. You need to maintain your authority, but there are much better ways to do it.

TA4EVA said...

One thing about the prof's outburst I approve of: blaming the entire class for a single serial yawner. After all, how come the yawners' peers haven't asked him/her to stop already? I think it's totally fair -- and maybe even integral to the collective spirit of higher education -- to expect the students to do a certain amount of policing of each other in the classroom. And clearly the students in this class aren't meeting that expectation.

One thing I definitely do NOT approve of: creepy Big Brother -style cameras all over the classroom. WTF.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree that losing one's $hit in class is always a bad idea. I did once, not in a yelling sort of way, but calmly after it became clear that no one had read that day. I mean NO ONE. I said I was really disappointed, didn't want to waste any of our time, packed my things before they could figure out what was going on, and left. They always read for the rest of the semester.

Digger said...

How is it that the University's security camera footage made it to YouTube? Not terribly secure, aye?

endlessemma said...

My favorite comment on the youtube video calls him "libtarded." I guess that's a remix of Carl Paladino's "retarded liberal" comment? But seriously, the number of comments that reference his masculinity ("this man has a vagina," "what a douche," "he's a boring cocksucker," etc.) are disturbing. I know it's considered more "manly" to not betray emotion but it was *anger* after all; I might say "hey man lay off the testosterone" if I wanted to take it to the gender swings place.

Tenured Radical said...

endlessmama: agreed, and I think some of those people were his students. One read on this is that men are humiliated by male aggression that they cannot respond to because of the other man's structural power. This humiliation makes them feel like "women" so they retaliate by asserting that his irrationality marks him as the "woman."

Anonymous said...

I don't agree at all that he "lost his $hit." He's distracted and frustrated, mentioning that it had been happening repeatedly and that it wasn't an innocent yawn but a mocking one. He raises his voice but still seems in control. I too would've handled it differently, perhaps making a joke out of it. But my questions is why are Americans such prudes when it comes to expressing real human emotion? Just about anywhere else this kind of outburst wouldn't turn heads.

Chris said...

I agree that it is creepy to use campus security cameras to monitor whether faculty are keeping office hours, arrive for class on time, etc... but this doesn't have that feel. It seems more like footage from a system designed to record lectures and make them online for students with disabilities that require allowing them to record the class, or to allow students who want to review lectures to see them again. Some of of the History faculty at my institution are using Tegrity in survey classes to capture lectures and make them available in Blackboard. From there is is easy for a student to capture that video from an eLearning environment and put it on Youtube.

Anonymous said...

What's the big deal?

Unless he's getting angry every lecture, there's nothing here that's out of the ordinary when it comes to disciplining a class for goofing off.