“I hope your students appreciate that.”

That is beside the point. It means, of course, that one should get up and give canned lectures out of some anthology or other dull textbook because the students will not appreciate anything, anyway, and you should save all your time for writing and not give interesting classes. Classes are ephemeral and writing is more lasting than bronze, we know.

It is still beside the point. It is draining to do things poorly and energizing to do things well, and one might as well be entertained and learn, especially if the students are going to be nasty anyway (which I do not believe). So what if you create an interesting course and they do not particularly appreciate it?

What do they have to compare it to, anyway? What do you have to lose? Will they appreciate a boring course more? Why, if you have such a negative attitude about them, do you care whether or not they appreciate your course? If they are not interesting is that not, precisely, yet another reason to at least give a course in a way that interests you? Do you really believe boring is a way to save energy and time, or are you just a boring person?

I have given this riposte before but I have had this sentence said to me again and I repeat: the title of this post, with the subtext I understand it to have, is one of those subtly undermining sentences professors who have no idea what it would be like to have any interest in life, enjoy saying to each other.




Filed under What Is A Scholar?

5 responses to ““I hope your students appreciate that.”

  1. Tom

    Hi, Profacero. I’m glad you feel that way. Sure, most students don’t seem to appreciate much, or didn’t when I was in school anyhow. They “don’t care.” Part of what professors do is teach them what caring looks like. It’s a slow process, but it’s important!

  2. Jonathan

    So true that is draining to do things badly and energizing to do them well.

  3. Z

    Perhaps you have to be in poetry to appreciate precision. Perhaps the people who go on endlessly about the good-enough this and that, and the evils of perfectionism, are the ones who study big, messy novels.

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