Monday, March 16, 2009


Today I found out about a thing that makes me angry. I know that it's irrelevant, of course, but nevertheless.

An anonymous student from last fall's History of Rock class posted on a university-specific professor-rating website that:

My TA was good, and the workload was pretty light but there was a decent amount of reading, which, in retrospect, was unnecessary anyway. Hopefully you don't get [my name] as a TA; he goes off on tangents about sexual orientation in society at times when it's just completely unnecessary.

Ahem. I gave one lecture in the fall, and it was on rock musicals. While I admire this student's appropriate use of the semi-colon, an art of which most of mine were completely ignorant, I can't bring myself to say anything else favorable about hir.

How on earth can you, anonymous student who wasn't even mine, find a "tangent" about sexual orientation "completely unnecessary" in a discussion of musical theater? More importantly, since I introduced sexual orientation as one of the organizing themes of my lecture (along with race), where do you get off telling me that it was a tangent at all?

I am seething. I know this particular student has no legitimacy as an evaluator of my teaching, as ze was clearly not paying attention when I told the class the topic of the lecture, but I remain furious that this obviously homophobic person managed to survive a class in our department with hir homophobia (and probably racism, based on other areas of hir comments) intact. I am attempting to carefully avoid gendering the object of my rage, but we all know that he's a rich, white, straight, English-as-a-first-language male who has never had to examine his own privilege ever. And he probably plays in a shitty rock band.

I will attempt to calm down by working on my paper on Cibo Matto in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If this fails, I will post more angry thoughts around midnight or so. In all likelihood, that's what'll end up happening.

1 comment:

at_resonance said...

Ick. That sucks. Three thoughts:

1. The people who post on these sites are the ones who are bitter about the class for some reason. Please don't assume that other people in the class feel this way.

2. I can see how a lecture on musical theater could be considered a tangent in a class on rock. I could also see how sexual orientation in musical theater could seem tangential; that is, until I saw your presentation. This student clearly wasn't paying attention.

3. If you're going into academia (which I assume you are) you have to get used to this sort of thing. You're always going to have some idiotic students (at least in intro classes), and they're always going to leave negative feedback, because obviously it can't be their fault that they did so poorly.

I know your anger is more visceral and ideological than any of these things can address, and it pisses me off too. But you can't convert everyone, even on a college campus, and especially within the jock population.

Also, yay Buffy! What's the gist of the paper?