when words fail me, which is often, I paint. When words work for me and are available on time, I am surprised.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Humility is a Virtue, isn't it?

It's been a while since I've written, I know. Hit a dry spell then needed to gather a few new experiences, harvesting material, my cup now seems to be runnething over. Where to start?
Yesterday morning I received an email from our campus director, she needed me to call her. I knew it must have something to do with the drama going on between my professor (who happens to be the head of the Human Services department)and me. I was having a rough morning. I realized the day before that we had an exam in 2 days on material I had not read. There were a few more early morning frustrations including a car wreck, a dirty dog and an unnecessary trip to town to return the wrong video; which means for nothing.
I pulled up class documents from aforementioned professor in order to prepare for the exam. I want to mention something about this professor first. She seems like a highly evolved, open and gentle person. She isn't. I don't think. Last semester she gave us an assignment to interview someone in a career. I interviewed our Swiss born librarian. I think it was a complete interview and with my bent for writing things well, I thought it was pretty good. I edited the interview and cut out the errs and umms, but I left Marion's responses verbatim. It was an interview. Our professor tore the Librarians grammar to pieces and I barely received a passing grade on the assignment. Apparently she wanted something beyond realism and content, something to suit a technical English course.
That said, back to the course notes.
I opened a two page piece on African Americans posted by our professor. I was correcting the numerous spelling errors on the page and then I started to get a little bit miffed by the irony of what I was doing. This Human Services professor, teaching courses in career development and interpersonal and cross cultural counseling who is such a stickler for technical English can't even use a spell checker on educational materials provided to her students. Here are a few examples of the errors I found: "spitual therapy, wester psychology, spirurrally(?)." There were several more.
With a smirk on my face and a giggle in my internal voice, I shot off a quick email to the Profo. I told her that I thought it was a slap in the face (perhaps I should have chosen a better term)to read course documents approved by her so full of grammatical errors when she holds her students to a much higher standard.
She didn't like that.
She shot back an email that she could not believe that I could be so rude to a professor and that she was not required to give us notes and if I didn't like them, I could delete them.
I didn't like that.
I sent back a response and apologized for sounding rude and that I meant no disrespect but some people may think there is such a thing as wester psychology and that I thought she was being rude to me in her response. Oh, I also told her if she didn't like my errors on my papers, she could ignore them.
Needless to say, some people have a very hard time admitting they may have made a mistake.
Pointing out to an Egoist Professor her mistakes, was a huge mistake, and for this I am truly sorry.

1 comment:

rickprose said...

this perfesser sounds insecure and not very likeable, but maybe you were being a bit of a wise-guy, pal. i, too, hate it when people judge my work by standards they are unwilling or unable to uphold in their own, but you gotta understand that in academia you sometimes run across people who have never actually worked in the fields which they profess - they're just people with masters degrees or phds who have a lot of theoretical knowledge and no real life work experience (aside from maybe an internship here and there).
sounds like a case of her not teaching you what's expected in an interview. when i was a young wannabe journalist, i was taught that you always clean up peoples' language (grammar, syntax) for interviews as it's distracting to the reader otherwise. if there are colorful colloquialisms or turns of phrase that may be a bit odd, you leave those in as identifiers of the person's background, character, etc.. but if she didn't make that clear, then she shouldn't hold you to that standard.
we are all surrounded by dunces, darlin', and sometimes they hold our very lives and/or livelihoods in their sweaty little hands, but we often have to breathe deeply and ignore their moronic assaults on our intelligence...