Category Archives: pet peeves

What might really help?

I remember when the concept of distance education was being discussed in graduate school only from the potential to aid students in rural areas or students who might not otherwise have had access to teachers.  Many an hour was spent debating the merits of this “future form of teaching and learning” and this was only a little over a decade ago.  Today we take for granted the relative simplicity and beauty of communicating over distances thanks to personal technology. But with this growth in on-line learning has developed a new breed of student- the student who will buy a credit without doing the work. Of course, not all students who sign up for distance education plan on cheating, in fact, I think many do not even realize that this is what they are doing in asking a tutor to “just sit beside me and answer the questions when I take the test”.  Or am I still being willfully naive?

     A recent rash of requests to do just that – to either write the paper for a student, or to take the test for a student has made me wonder.  Though not yet an epidemic, is this the future of education?  And I know that there are “tutors” willing to do the full work for the student which says something else about the education system- too many underemployed.   

  Yes competition can be fierce. Today’s student is growing up tech savvy and a student’s discovering ways around a system is not something new.  What to me is new is that adults are often behind the student and encouraging the practice.  When we as tutors share knowledge in such a way that students, regardless of age or background, can feel empowered and able to use the skills and move beyond the basics to create their own set of “personal, practical knowledge”  then as tutors we will have achieved a basic goal of education: to encourage curiosity in others, to facilitate growth.  “Character education”, “problem solving skills” “lessons in empathy”, are the new buzz words and hardly a curriculum can be found that isn’t touting these phrases.  What might really help? Reading skills everyone, comprehension practice, readings from the literature of other countries/ other cultures/ other time periods.  Learning by doing happens when the words on the page have an effect on the reader and affect change.  Change is good – it is a part of growing.  I challenge you to find a classic, modern or traditional, or one of today’s “best sellers”, that doesn’t, in one way or another, through the story, further the development of all three.  Active reading is a wonderful key.

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Excuses, Excuses or Pet Peeves

Ever noticed how someone can be incredibly rude and then think they are being clever when they suggest their rudeness is the result of a disability? GRRR…

Recently entered a bank and was accosted by the grating sounds of a female shouting nonsense into her cell phone- when told she was Yelling, instead of toning it down this ignoramus laughed that she was” deaf”.  Her use of a very real disability that afflicts many people as her excuse for rudeness was even more disgusting than her decision to expose all of us to her ridiculous conversation.  This is not just another tirade against misuse of cellphones – the person was an adult female whose ignorance was grotesque and proved the point that when some people open their mouths, their ignorance shows.  Over the past decade I have come in contact with many students with special needs- Please help me spread the word that pretending an illness instead of saying “excuse me”  is bottom line low.  I understand when people shout in their cars and forget to change the decibel level once entering a public space- but don’t pretend to be a wit by mocking a group that have a very real need.  That this woman was a fool was apparent to all in the bank- unfortunately her attitude may not change without social pressure reminding people to offer each other, regardless of perceived need – a little bit of thoughtfulness.