Thursday, April 3, 2008

Higher Education

On Monday, my ConLaw class ended with a little pep talk from the professor intended to violently shove some more of the populace into participating. Here's how class usually goes.

The prof comes in and either gives another inexplicably crippling quiz or starts the lecture. He is a smart guy, and is for real not fucking around with the English language which I enjoy to no end. There are a couple major contributors...kid with the Kucinich shirt, kid with the cool military-ish hat, kid behind me, and the kid with the accent. Occasionally, the back row will work to make up questions in order to stave off a quiz. I sit and apparently radiate intelligence (more on that later), and the rest of the class passes the time by thinking about birds or looking confused. A good portion of the class, you see, doesn't pipe up very often, including me, and I've been feeling guilty about this, since I genuinely like the class and the way the prof is teaching it.

The problem is, I don't have questions about the nuts and bolts - this isn't my first time at the Constitutional Rodeo. I want to know more about how the Constitution has manifested itself over time, and how the legal system has sprung forth and burrowed its way into societal norms and behavior. Still, not speaking up is not speaking up, so I emailed the prof to explain what I had cranking in my head and asked what he thought. He sent a really nice and (I think) complimentary email back, saying a couple things. Here's some paraphrase action.
  1. Good thinking, good self-editing.
  2. Having just 50 minutes per class is rough.
  3. Since it's only 50 minutes, there's not as much time to explore the philosophical stuff.
  4. THAT time is further limited when other people aren't getting the basics. And they aren't.
  5. Ask questions, but maybe don't go as far afield as your brain is going.

Well, okay.

This is a 300 level class. To be sure, there are some tricky concepts isn't always abundantly clear, and since it's Constitutional Law, a lot of what we're dealing with is written in thicker language than we use today. On top of that, there are a lot of opinions to read, which I personally hate and am sure other people hate as well. That being said, the prof does a good job explaining the material, is more than willing to meet with you to go over anything you don't get, and freaking loves questions. I don't see any reason for a college student - you know, a student of higher education? - should remain ignorant of concepts with this many options for straightening their shit out.

And because of that, I can't help but be a little bitter. Three times a week, I get to sit in a class with a brilliant professor and some seriously intelligent students. The opportunity there is huge to really get a ton of stuff out of the texts and each other, but instead, we get to stick with basic concepts because some people can't be fucked to get their act together and learn the material.

Blah blah blah learning disabilities, blah blah blah some people aren't as smart, blah blah blah WHO CARES. If you can't keep up, why should I have to be in the same class as you? And if you didn't know how hard it would be, why didn't you a.) drop when you figured it out or b.) bust ass to get up to and keep at speed? I know a lot of these kids are younger and haven't had the educational rollercoaster I have, but I really don't think it's asking too much to want them to keep up enough so we can explore more than hearing about Marbury v. Fucking Madison for the nine hundredth time. If you're a political science major - which in this class you probably are, since it's a 300 - quite honestly you should know this shit. You SHOULD be discussing the philosophical implications of the documents and texts, and for the love of should be doing it in a way that demonstrates a passing grasp of the English language.

Awful depressing, for stuff I truly love. Le sigh.

God, SACK UP, generation whatever.

1 comment:

  1. Wait, I didn't know it was a 300 level class. When we were talking I got the impression that it was a lecture you had to take (200 level?). But jeebus, the people taking this class couldn't get into philosophical stuff at the 300 level? Are you kidding me? I'd have an aneurysm.