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Most Disheartening

October 20, 2009

As a teacher, I think what is most disheartening is students who do not have any intellectual curiosity whatsoever. I get a lot of students who are only in my courses because they need a gen ed requirement in religion, but if they’re intellectually curious I can work with them. However, the completely mercenary students are the worst; there’s nothing worse than the attitude that says “I don’t care—tell me what I need to know for the test and let me out of here.”

I have a class full of these students right now. *sigh*

I’d rather have a class full of evangelicals who challenge everything I say.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Vidya permalink
    October 21, 2009 12:39 am

    Imagine how curious they would be if they hadn’t had their natural curiosity hammered out of them by twelve or more years of schooling. I really feel that those of us who maintain a love of learning have done so in spite of, not because of, the educational system.
    After a great deal of stressing over it, I’m learning to focus on those students who make the effort to engage, and just do what I can to provide an open and supportive environment for the others. In fact, as I suffer from recurrent depression, I can relate to the ‘don’t-really-care’ students; I’ve had months and even years where I was just dragging myself through the routine of schooling. I try to remember that I never know the sorts of things that my students may be struggling with in their lives at any given time, and that who they are at the moment is not necessarily who they are at other times and/or in other contexts.

  2. Beelzebub permalink
    October 21, 2009 4:42 am

    Hell for an intellectually curious student is being forced to drop out for monetary reasons and then become unable to find a job during, what, the longest recession since the great depression? Oh, well, a used bookstore is as good as any college.

  3. October 26, 2009 7:52 am

    It’s not my fault that your lectures are just lists of Tsars and what the Tsars did. I don’t really care about Tsars! I had to look in a book about Old Believers to even find out that there were actually people who weren’t the Tsars stooges who had opinions and the ability to write them down. YOU sure didn’t tell me that!

    Oh wait, you’re not my Tsarist Russia lecturer…
    And yeah! I know I should expect boring high politics tsar lists in a module with a title like that… but it was the only elective in that category I could pick.

  4. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    October 29, 2009 7:55 am

    Yes, I know you’re not talking about me—I don’t know shit about tsars!

  5. October 29, 2009 9:07 am

    Your lucky *sigh*

  6. Dan permalink
    May 5, 2010 10:25 am

    I agree w/Vadya; our educational system is adept at killing the natural, God-given curiosity that we’re born with. I do love learning…despite my school experience. Personally, I think the 2nd grade is a critical year for that. (My twins just finished their second year, and it was an incredibly eye-opening experience for me to watch their development in the course of that yar.)

    By the way, I would’ve been one of those evangelicals who challenged (almost) everything you said! (Sometimes from a theological basis; sometimes just to be a pain in the ___.) I had a 3-semester debate w/one of my professors in college. It was awesome! He graded on the quality of my argument, not how well I regurgitated his lectures. From the other side of the lecturn, I’d say this is lacking too.

    But, I agree with your basic point. I’d rather teach a room full of energetic atheists than a group of apathetic evangelicals, whom I’d theoretically agree with. (But, no part of my theology allows me to agree w/apathy. I’m not wired that way.)


    PS: Repent!!! ;-)

  7. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    May 5, 2010 12:38 pm

    I’ve actually had evangelicals in my Bible classes who were quite fun. We still get along, despite our differences.

    PS: what do I need to repent of?

  8. Dan permalink
    May 5, 2010 1:14 pm

    Ummm…I’ll have to take one of your classes, but I’m sure I could come up with something….


  9. Dan permalink
    May 5, 2010 10:44 pm

    Let me try again.

    I probably shouldn’t joke about “repentence,” as it is a subject that I (in my saner moments) actually do take seriously.

    Before offering any serious suggestions, let me put my cards on the table.

    I believe in certain qualities or behaviors as being derivative of, and part of my faith: avoiding pride, keeping promises/integrity, loving my enemies/neighbors (as Chesterton points out, they’ve often the same people), loving my wife sacrificially, intentionally and purposefully leading my children in what I believe to be the ‘right way.’ These are not only things I believe, but things I need to repent of…of not doing, I should say. By the way, this list is not exhaustive; I just pulled from today’s list of failures as an example.

    I’ve not been loving (to my wife and others), I’ve not been as involved w/my kids today as I should’ve been. My day at work wasn’t the epitome of employee integrity. I’ve been acting like an arrogant b______ all day, Etc.

    Having declared these to be my beliefs, and failed to meet them, I now have something quite tangible to repent of.

    So, to answer (more seriously) your question, let me say this: if you are intentional in your beliefs, then you, too, probably have some set of tenets or behaviors that you subscribe to, but don’t make it all the time. Make your own list, and where you fall short…well, there’s your repentance list. We may share some line-items, though we may have arrived at them by different paths. Perhaps you’ll agree that all of us “have sinned and fallen short” (of something). I’d finish that sentence “the glory of God.” You would finish it differently. (“my ideals” or “my personal code” or other; I won’t push it, since I’d be putting words in your mouth.) Some people don’t like the word ‘sin,’ but that’s the least of my worries.

    Perhaps you are not so intentional in your beliefs. Well, between us, I think you would need to repent of that! I suspect that’s not your besetting sin, though. Rarely is, among practicing atheists.

    I’m not trying to proselytize. (Perhaps I need to repent of that?) But, I felt I owed you better than that last, flippant comment. I apologize for that. (Yeah….put that on my list, too. Dang. Good thing my theology includes Grace!)


    2 Thess. 1:2

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