Fortunately there are some good things that come with age. I understand that it does not make any sense to try to make everyone happy. I also am becoming better at ignoring static noise. But these things nonetheless still feel like fingernails scratching on chalkboards.
In several conversations with current and past students and seeking feedback on performance from various sources, I have come to find out that a (the?) major dissatisfaction with me as a teacher is that, “I am not fare.” And yes that misspelling is intentional. I won’t mention here all of the things I do as a teacher, but needless to say, if you are a serious student and wish to do well in my classes, there are myriad and abundant ways to do it.
That said, when pressed for what students mean when they say I am not fair, it comes down to this: “he is not fair because is not willing to bend his rules.” Indeed. I have extremely strict rules in my classes – it is not only necessary to do that in large classes, it is a major lesson for students in understanding the importance of the rule of law.
I don’t mind that students find this as a concern – in fact, it helps me know that I am doing exactly what I intend to do. What I do mind is that even if it is a small minority of folks that have this belief, that it is still out there. I’ll repeat it:
He is not fair because he does not bend the rules.
Let that sink in. Maybe I am being a philosophical and sociological malthusian, and perhaps I should temper my worries, but does it not seem the case that this view is increasingly popular? I don’t want to pass blame around – there’s lots to give. It is parents’ faults. It is the K12 schools’ faults and it is certainly the politicians’ faults. And think about what happens in a world where there is no respect for the rule of law? Think about what happens when fairness becomes a relative concept?
You get toxic waste like this. I view myself as a good “e”nvironmentalist. Therefore I will incur the costs myself of not dumping additional toxic waste out there.