ERIC Number: ED465166
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Mar-22
When We Could Care Less: The Taboo Subject of Teacher Apathy.
For one graduate student administrator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, some examples of what she considers to be teacher apathy are: complaints by the writing laboratory director that a teaching assistant (TA) was not using the recommended readings but a Nietzsche essay to have his students explore a contemporary political issue, and another TA who professed not to care that 14 of her 43 students had failed English 101. The administrator states that she is often made to feel that she could care a lot less about composition--and still care more than most of her fellow graduate students teaching composition. They teach it because the choice is not between teaching composition and teaching something else but between teaching composition and not teaching--and not getting funded for their graduate work. The administrator, on the other hand, does not see composition as a necessary stepping stone to the kind of teaching she "really" cares about because composition is the kind of teaching she really cares about. So, although she can relate to the emotional ups and downs that new instructors go through, displays of apathy leave her stumped and struggling to manufacture an appropriate response. As Joanna Atwood Brown suggests in "Kitchen Cooks, Plate Twirlers, and Troubadors" the graduate student administrator may find herself both exposed to--and alienated by--the apathy of the instructors she supervises in a way most faculty would not be. As a "peer who isn't a peer," the graduate student administrator can seem like the perfect person to confide in but still complain about composition. Brown calls for a support network which does not necessarily have to stand in tension with critical conversations. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A