Sunday, May 16, 2010

Solemn Higher Ed Vows

Tomorrow I will take my last exam in college. It is on math stats. In case I ever end up teaching in higher ed, I want to make a record of which rules I would need to follow in order to respect myself as a teacher. There are two main points, to which, in publishing this blog post, I hereby solemnly swear to follow:

1) I will grade essays / short answers / papers based on the content of the writing, including the precision of the claims made, the relevance of the evidence cited, and, depending upon the context, its originality. To give the content more weight, I will eschew the importance of spelling, formatting, the proper dictionary use of phrases like "begs the question," the alphabetization of references, and other irrelevant tics that apparently haunt so many professors. Whenever possible I will encourage or at least accept the use of words that I have to look up in urban dictionary, or its equivalent thirty years from now, however horribly newfangled they may appear to raggedy old me.

2) Whenever possible, I will attempt to channel students' competitive urges for the good of the world by having them play non-zero-sum games. That includes collaborating on unsolved problems, writing wikipedia pages (or its equivalent), and articulating hitherto unarticulated or poorly articulated sentiments.

All praise be to the god of integration by parts, in whose holy presence I tremble with mortal fear, amen.