School

Eat My Shorts, Academia.

(Remember how I’m in school? You probably don’t because I never talk about it because all my studying is done in the mornings before work while the rest of you bing-bongs are working your 9-5s.)

Dear Academia,

I successfully completed last semester’s course and registered for this semester’s. Last semester, the class was centered around really practical, down-to-earth, get-your-hands-dirty stuff. Like, I administered a battery of tests to a student and developed lesson plans for a class.  It was nitty-gritty and I loved it.

Cue mid-January panic attack after receiving the syllabus from the professor for Spring’s class. It’s all theory. We’re talking about “lenses with which we view the world” and one of our books (this is not a joke) is called Women’s Ways of Knowing. I have two responses to that:

1) What the heck is a “way of knowing”?

2) How is there a whole book on it?

There’s also alot of reflective writing- I have to blog about what I’m reading, reflect on the “broad external conditions that influence my workplace and the learning that takes place therein”. Oy. At the beginning of the class, the professor wasn’t really clear about what we were supposed to be doing- where the blog goes on our online classroom platform, what we’re supposed to be discussing on the discussion board. No clear instructions. So, my classmates took it upon themselves to just post wherever they could find a place to post and then use as many words as possible. It was seriously ridiculous.

One one of the blogs (not mine, unfortunately), someone posted this comment:

Wow, what a wonderful reflection on preparing to engage in learning with your learners. You magically set the stage and peeked underneath the veil to reveal the undercurrents and back-currents that make the classroom. Each one is unique with their own filters and lenses. You describe guiding to use those filters and lenses to see things through a different filter or lens with the questions about reading. You are dead on with the idea that it is not a velvet smoking jacket, as you have shown it is an igloo-loving, interacting, and interspatial grouping of fairies with the common desire to radiate better.

I’m going to guess that you fell asleep halfway through because you couldn’t slog through all the flowery language to get to the meat. I changed the last sentence, just to see if you were paying attention.

That comment actually made me a little angry. I mean, really? I emailed it to Alex and said that my response to the blog would have been “Ditto”.  Some of the articles that we read in class are really helpful. The authors aren’t trying to sound smart by using big words. They’re letting their ideas speak for themselves.  Some of them might as well have been written in Latin- the language is so arcane and verbose (old and wordy)- and  they lose their audience (quickly).

Academia, I’m not quite sure that I understand this trend in your sphere to be verbose, which for me has the connotation of using big words or more words than necessary.  I used to be impressed by stuff like that, but now I think I can recognize it for what it is- pretentiousness. I don’t really like theory- I would much rather deal with the practical side of things- but I can see how some people would enjoy a good theoretical discussion.  I just wish they would do it so that we’re not all wasting our time reading a bunch of things that mean nothing. If you can say it in a sentence, why use a paragraph?

Now, before you think that I’m picking on my classmates, I will freely admit that sometimes fall into this “use-big-words-so-people-will-be-impressed” trap. Fortunately, God is always there to swat me down by clearing my brain of all words that have more than two syllables.

“Oh yes, I also thought that that show was…er…hmmm….gross? No. That’s not it. Bad. Stupid. Poo-poo head.”

I haven’t done it in a while. Lately, I’ve been mildly disgusted with name-dropping and trying-to-impress-me. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting crotchety in my old age and I don’t feel like I have time for fake.Time’s running out, people, so don’t try to waste my time. Get to the point!

Anyway, there it is, Academia- my theoretical and personal reflection on verbosity. I can guarantee you that I won’t be talking about lifting any veils or magically setting the stage anytime soon. I’ll just take the clear-cut, straightforward route from here on out.

Thanks,

Beth

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