It was the first day of a new class. I taught the second section of a multi-part research methods course. After sign-in and introductions, the room broke out into several groups to discuss their projects. When I brought everyone back to the main classroom, I noticed that many of the students had ditched class.
I thought, "Hey, this isn't good!"
Apparently, the students had learned some very bad habits from the first teacher. They had felt that it was not necessary to approach research methods seriously.
I pulled out some paper, and asked the remaining students to pass the sheet around and sign in a second time. While getting ready to elaborate on the class project, I noticed that the remaining students weren't signing in. I reminded them several times. I also went to the adjoining classrooms, looking for lost students.
A couple of professors who would teach the later sections were hanging around, shaking their heads. They told me that my expectations were too high, if I actually wanted attendance or participation.
"The students do everything by cell phone now, they don't feel they have to attend, listen to the instructions, or sign their name on any roster," they said. Well, I knew they know how to do a roster, they weren't fooling me. How could they possibly complete a project adequately if they would not receive instruction, or be accountable?
One of the professors pulled me aside, explained to me about mediocrity and then handed me a glass-blown elephant.
"Here. This will help you in your class."
I went back to class and put the elephant front and center on my desk. The elephant didn't do any good, so decided that I would rather wake up than accept the current situation.
I woke up, thinking, gosh, do I need some more carbs? What a nightmare!
Hey obesity researchers, there is a new teacher in town. Will you listen to instructions, or continue to hand in the same tired papers, expecting credit?
P.S. It appears I was channeling Adele Hite last night.