Friday, September 21, 2007

Back in MY day...

Do you remember the "Grumpy Old Man" on SNL, back in the late 80s/early 90s? Dana Carvey was the GOM and he sneered at soft, wimpy young people who wouldn't have survived in HIS day..."dentists....why back in MY day, we didn't have dentists...after the teeth rotted in our festering gums, we hacked them out with a pickax and we LIKED it! We LOVED it!" That Grumpy Old Man

So this is going to be one of those posts, with me in the role of the GOM. (and back in MY day, we didn't have newfangled fancy-shmancy BLOOOOOGs....we cornered our friends and talked until they lost the will to live and we LIKED it! We LOVED it!)

I went online yesterday to look at syllabus information for my classes (do you like how I bypassed altogether the need to remember the plural for syllabus?) and there were bios posted for the instructors. I read the first one, which shared all sorts of personal information (hobbies, beautiful wife, amazing children, blah blah) and there's actually a disclaimer, to the effect of "if I say anything offensive, please accept my abject apology, I try to be sensitive, there is a diverse student population, some people may have cultural sensitivities of which I am not aware...". I'm a little nonplussed. Perhaps there's been some complaint against him in the past, and he's on the defensive? So I read the other instructor's bio, and it's nearly identical! Very chatty and intimate, followed by the disclaimer about not meaning to offend anyone.

What? When I was first started college, I can't imagine a professor sharing her personal life. As far as you're concerned, missy, I don't have one...I'm going to teach, you're going to learn, you're going to address me as Dr/Professor/Mr/Miss and anything you say to me should be strictly related to Homer or differential equations or the Treaty of Ghent. And offending anyone? I can't think of a single faculty member who would have cared one bit about offending an undergrad. So when my Intellectual Heritage professor told us that Oedipus was a father-killer and a mother-fucker, it was too bad for my Catholic schoolgirl self if I was shocked. I was, and spent the whole afternoon working out an imaginary argument with him explaining why that kind of language was just a cheap way to get attention without really...and then I got it. He made me think! That's what he was supposed to do!
That's all for now!


Whiskeymarie said...

I go "Flibbety Floo" to my husband all the time, but he never saw the skit on SNL. I don't care- the cranky old man in me needs to get out sometimes.
And, as a teacher of adults- I agree with you. I share very little about myself with my students. Very. Little. It just leads to trouble, especially as a woman.
But if they ever find my blog...

CDP said...

Yes, I really think that the distance in the teacher-student relationship is important. We run into my son's first-grade teacher all the time. She's very young, but I address her as Ms. M so that he understands the formality of the relationship. (because that's how we did it in MY day and we LIKED it...we LOVED it.)

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