Sunday, December 23, 2012

Just a couple of thoughts at the end of the semester

There are so many joys in teaching that they almost always outweigh those moments when some friend reminds me that he makes more than twice what I do, and still thinks he is underpaid. However, those moments--seeing the spark of curiosity or learning something from the fresh and incisive perspective of an undergraduate--are hard to remember at the end of term, when the pain of grading and realizing that this has almost no part in the real intellectual and educational work the university can achieve at its best is compounded by the emails of complaint about grades and the catching of students at plagiarizing and cheating.
At these moments--as in those when I suspect that I am the only one who had read the assignments or who has read any of the classics of the canon--I mourn just a little for the notion of the educated person and the liberal education that was once meant to create her.

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