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College Teaching as Entertainment

November 3, 2019

Getting to become a college teacher once was a way to pursue intellectual interests, enjoy work and have sufficient income to raise a family. About half a century ago, many who wanted to teach in College became aware that there were few opportunities to become employed as a college teacher and ideological warfare against traditional scholars and scholarship became intense.

Still, some made the effort, earned a postgraduate Ph.D. degree and found a job. Now they’re old and inattentive to what their students think of them.

One way to find out–if they were interested–is to read “reviews” of college faculty posted online at  https://www.ratemyprofessors.com

I did that for some very good scholars that I know and, in most cases, was disappointed. They are terrific scholars but most do not convey that achievement in their classrooms. I wonder if that matters, after all, good scholars write books and students can read them.

Of course, today attending college is so expensive, it is common to find that 20% of students don’t buy the required textbook! I guess they assume they can get by just by taking good notes. That becomes difficult, if your professor is not a good lecturer.

It takes about five years teaching a subject to be able to walk into a classroom and speak to the topic in an interesting and extemporaneous manner. But, college teachers weren’t motivated to go into teaching in order to give fascinating lectures. Most college teachers prefer to write, not teach. And those who are renowned for their great lectures are seldom original thinkers. They simply love their subject and delight in talking about it.

So, students have a choice: seek substance or an entertaining experience.

Most seek entertainment–and “A” grades.

 

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