Thursday, September 11, 2008

Note to Community College professor

Dear Professor:

You must forgive my ingrained English politeness. I am still learning how you do things in your country. However, when you are telling us about the devolution of power from the federal to state governments but actually say "de-evolution" five times, you're wrong. And when I come up at the end of the class and politely say "did you mean to say de-evolution instead of devolution as written? Surely de-evolution would mean a return to a less complex, or less organized form, whereas devolution is a backwards shifting and return of power to the more local from the more central? Or do you mean that there actually is some change in complexity? I just want to clarify that I understand the concept, because the two words mean different things to me." I am not in fact asking you a question. I am saying "you are saying the wrong word, you dumb bitch, but I'm trying to save you from embarrassment by not pointing that out to the rest of the class and trying to be polite by phrasing it as a question." 

If I actually didn't understand the concept, I'd put my hand up in class and say "I don't understand." I don't need a detailed explanation of the concept, nor how the word you used is just a difference in pronunciation and means the same thing. In fact, the concept of devolution as a political term I believe comes from my own fair country, and I could probably teach you a thing or two about it. Nor do I need you to tell me to look up the pronunciation in the dictionary, although, for the record, I did, and I was right that there is no suggestion to pronounce "devolution" as "de-evolution."


Thanks so much.

Yours, etc.


Tricia said...

Hilarious! Arrogant pratt. Did you manage to hold back the condescending sigh and eye rolling? I don't think I would....

Heather said...

I don't think I would have let her get that far with it before just telling her she is wrong and needs to look it up herself. Or taking a dictionary to the next class and explaining it to her in front of the whole class - just for clarification purposes, of course.

Sara said...

That's pretty funny.

The problem with being a professor is that when you're right about 95% of the time in arguments with students, you tend to forget about the other 5%, to your own detriment. When I was teaching, I remember that my students were always shocked when I admitted an error. Apparently they had never seen such a thing before.

You handled it well. I'm sure that she looked it up herself too, and won't make that mistake again. The bluster was just a cover-up.

Now if she says noo-klee-ar, I suggest that you just start screaming and run out of the room.

Sam said...

That post is why you must continue to blog, no matter which path your life goes down.

sarah said...

My best friend, who is a professor, often says "Fustrated" which drives me nuts!

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of my TOTAL IDIOT primary care doctor. she calls amoxicillin "Amoxicycline". even when i correct her she repeats it said wrong. WTF?