Let’s see. Week 1 of Winter Quarter Classes, 2008. Done with. I can’t remember having so many people trying to crash, or so many emails from potential crashers. No instruction took place on the first day, what with the class given over mostly to figuring out who was there and who wanted to be there. That was on Monday, and many of the students looked out of it and glassy eyed.
I didn’t know till I asked that the dorms—I have quite a few first year students in one class—didn’t open for re-occupation till 1 in the afternoon Sunday, the day before. A few looked wiped out because they had just got in. I don’t get it. With the dorms opening at 1 students have less than twenty-four hours to get their acts together, buy books, if they know what books to buy, and figure out any problems with their schedules before they start classes.
The next session was also pretty much a bust. A good third of the students hadn’t managed to drag their butts over to IV to get the reader for the class—and it’s not just getting over there. Once there they have to stand in long lines. And not just for my class but for any of the other four or five they might be taking.
Two students came up to me with printed out schedules that said they were supposed to be in this room, the one I was teaching in, but for a different class.
Since I teach MW I don’t have class on two Mondays, the one that’s called President’s Day and MLK day. The way I figure it what with this wasted first week and the two days off later in the quarter, my class is already 1/5 over.
I don’t think this is any way to run a university, not if it is to have an educational purpose. As it is, I suppose many students don’t mind. After all, it’s in and out. Education too has taken its direction from the fast-food industry.
One class—it’s called Writing 1—is filled with students who failed a writing placement exam. Thus they have to take Writing 1, and I guess it’s not that surprising but the number of minority students in this class is much higher than my other class, Writing 2, filled with people who did pass the placement exam.
I was kidding around in W1 about how many students had not declared a major and I don’t know what I said or how it came up but one Latino student said he didn’t know what to major in because it all seemed so hard, so he was trying to find something at least that he liked. And he came out with too: that in high school he hadn’t had to do a damn thing. And around the room, here and there, a good number of students nodded recognition. They too had to do nothing in high school.