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28 September 2017

Here Is Your Grade; Nice Knowing You

Over the first five weeks of class, I work hard to develop a good rapport with my students, but the realities of higher ed bureaucracy dash much of that. I'm a relatively charismatic guy, and I try to present new ideas in a surprising and engaging manner. My hope is that my approach challenges the socialization the students received in school to view authority in traditional and/or rational-legal ways so that they can instead appreciate the new professional-client authority that should be more dominant in college. (I've written about this before.)  All of that is spoiled, however, when I am required to give the students feedback. The first time students are graded, the goodwill of the charismatic/professional-client relationship is largely erased, and we are relegated back to an instrumental, bureaucratic interaction. Short of eliminating the bureaucratic requirement for grades, as some peer institutions have actually done, I'm not sure how to avoid this. Regardless, it makes me sad.

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