bogus!

So, us TA’s have been asked to over enroll our classes because, “Typically between 10% and 25% of students initially registered for a class drop by the third week (often DURING the third week).
I can only speak for myself, but in the four classes I’ve taught over the last two years it has been quite rare for a student to drop. It’s happened a few times, yes, but no where near even the lowest 10% mark. Maybe the dept has stats to back up this claim?

6 thoughts on “bogus!”

  1. I’m informed this goes against the GEO contract.
    My stance is simply that it ought to be the instructor’s prerogative. For the class I’m teaching this time, it makes sense to have more students because of how I want to teach it. But for most classes we teach, it doesn’t make sense, unless the instructor has some pedagogical trick up their sleeve that they want to use.

  2. The chickens at umass have finally come home to take a dump. Cut back the workforce, hold up raises, and make departments cut their budgets and what do you get: overenrolled classes that have in fine Orwellian fashion overthrown their negative connotations (didn’t the university and departments once classify overenrolled classes as a a problem to be solved with adequate faculty and more money to hire adjuncts, attract more grad students who can teach, and hire top-rate post docs and permanent full-time faculty?). Now with some pseudo-math about 10 percent drop rates (who cooks this @#$% up?), the problems of too many students and not enough faculty can be solved with “overenrolled” (crowded/impersonal/lecture only) classrooms. Well, I’m not teaching at UMass anymore, but this situation affects every state college and public school in the commonwealth. We–and I do not mean those represented by GEO. Overall, I think GEO does a very good job of getting grad students better pay and health insurance. We vulnerable members of the feeding chain at other state schools need a union that unites all graduate and adjunct faculty regardless of where they teach in the state system. The Union at FSC is the worst organizationI have ever had the festering sore pain of paying Union Dues to (hundreds of dollars over four years and for what?)
    No health insurance. Lousy low pay. I think I get a lawyer if some student decides to sue me. Not exactly high on my list of things I look for in a union.
    Enough is enough.

  3. As someone teaching Comm 260: Public Speaking, I am particularly troubled by this new policy. Last semester I let one extra student into the class over my 25 person cap. This ended up making my entire semester difficult because the vast majority of my graded work (speeches) is done IN CLASS! When you’ve only got 50 minutes for a class in which to teach and leave room for students to show what they’ve learned through their speeches, adding one extra person (or, if I follow the 10% rule, 3 extra people) is a strain. It’s not a matter of simply having to grade some extra exams or papers (which I don’t think is fair to TAs either), but, for me, a matter of time management and quality of classroom experience.

  4. Rumor has it that I could have been a bit more diplomatic with my first post and email. OK, its not a rumor, its direct feedback :
    “I wouldn’t have said it that way.”
    “You’ll never be a diplomat.”
    “I cringed when I read it because I knew it would elicit a defensive reaction.”
    “It was the wrapping…”
    Everyone who gave me this kind of feedback ALSO said, however, that its not like people in the department don’t know me!
    “They should have been like, oh its from Steph, its probably something outrageous.”
    “They could take personality into account.”
    I didn’t mean to be offensive; only descriptive. Well, not just descriptive, I was trying to capture the affective sense of the folks I’d had conversations with prior to posting – but only as part of the descriptive detail. And I thought it made sense for me to post it because a) I am overenrolling my class this semester and b) I was optimistic that my relationships with most faculty and administrators is on good enough terms that the message could be “heard” and also that I wouldn’t have to fear reprisals (whereas others might). So I thought…
    It is distressing that this kind of communication is so dang difficult. How many taboos did I break? What are these taboos and what purpose do they serve? For whom? I’m sure I could have put more time into considering how to craft what I posted so that I could avert most misconstruals, but if the issue is taboos instead of style, I don’t know that it would have made much difference. Maybe I’m just rationalizing now, after the fact, but perhaps that’s why I didn’t worry about how I wrote it when I did (not to mention writing it under time pressure), because I understood that I was venturing into new territory. It iss a sheer impossibility to predict and forestall every possible “negative” reaction. “Bogus” was an (apparently feeble) attempt at humor.
    There is no public forum for graduate complaints beyond one-on-one conversations (which have their own set of constraints). We certainly weren’t asked for any input on this “policy” in advance. And of course its implementation means that someone’s class would have been overenrolled. It just wasn’t fair to TA’s, and somehow that got overlooked in the strategizing process. I don’t think it was malicious, just unfortunate.

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