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The Collective
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Several weeks back I posted on a situation in which a Kuwaiti student accused an American professor of leftist bias in grading. As I noted at the time, my review of the assignment under dispute resulted in the conclusion that the professor had fairly graded the paper.

Now the pseudonymous polisci prof Dr. Rusty Shackleford has Prof. Joseph Woolcock’s response, which strikes me as reasonable and a highly likely version of events.

I will also echo Rusty’s comments that students frequently misconstrue the statements of professors. For example, just the other day I made a joke about President Bush sometimes having an “inappropriate relationship with the English language” and clearly one of my students thought I was Bush-bashing and probably assumed I was pro-Kerry.

My favorite all-time characterization of my assumed partisan position was back when I taught at Austin Community College I had a class ask me how I voted and I asked them to guess. One of the students (who was very bright, in fact) guessed that I had to be a Democrat because I was “so compassionate?—which I thought was an extremely telling statement in terms of her own political prejudices and assumptions.

In terms of students simply not listening to what you say, here’s an example: I once told a class (I forget why) that when I was in High School I worked at McDonald’s and that one of my co-workers used to come to work stoned. Several semesters later a student asked me to tell the story about how I used to come to work at McDonald’s stoned. Not only would one prefer not to have such a story about oneself circulating campus, the situation certainly underscored how poorly students listen to their professors on some (if not many) occasions.

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4 Comments

  1. I once killed a man in vegas just to see him die…
    Steven Taylor has a funny story about how a professor’s reputation with the students evolves in some rather interesting ways. I have experience with this in two funny ways: first, my wife and I graduated from college at the same…

    Trackback by The LLama Butchers — Wednesday, February 9, 2005 @ 12:18 pm

  2. Prof responds on bad essay
    The Jawa Report has a Foothill College professor’s response to allegations of political bias in grading an essay assignment about the writing of the Constitution. I also like Rusty’s response to student complaints that he gives too many F’s: In…

    Trackback by Signifying Nothing — Wednesday, February 9, 2005 @ 2:38 pm

  3. Catching my eye: morning A through Z (UPDATED)
    Here’s what’s caught my eye this morning: Dustbury remembers Runaway singer, Del Shannon, who took his own life fifteen years ago today. Musicians don’t earn living from copyright, copyright hurts creators (hat tip: Boing Boing). Copyrights are base…

    Trackback by The Glittering Eye — Wednesday, February 9, 2005 @ 2:50 pm

  4. Woolcock Responds to Student’s Allegations
    Rusty Shackleford received some comments on his blog from Joseph Woolcock, the Foothill College political science professor whose grading of a patriotic essay and his alleged disparaging comments to its undergraduate author created a firestorm last mon…

    Trackback by Outside The Beltway — Wednesday, February 9, 2005 @ 6:37 pm

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