Uproar on flteach

Well, not really. Just me being taken to task. A member wrote to complain about the low quality of students and professors at her college and referred to her students as idiot robots. I felt that was unprofessional of her and said so in response to the post. I wasn’t the only one, but more came to the poster’s defense. Their argument was that this List is a place for teachers to vent and that is what she was doing. Furthermore, my post was off-base b/c that’s all I responded to. Kind of like Charles Murray doesn’t understand why people don’t respond to all of The Bell Curve and seem to want to focus on the chapter where he declares Blacks to be cognitively inferior to Whites… genetically.

So I was dismissed there. The same poster in the same post bemoaned, “I am so glad to hear that this is not the only
school where the kids speak Martian. I bent over backwards to be nice, to
teach them to compose two-page essays (what a joke! I had to write 20 pages
minimum at the same age, and they couldn’t even do two), to create notes and

No description of her socioeconomic background or theirs. But of course, taking that into account would be the soft racism of low expectations. Just expect them to speak standard English and they will.

She does describe immature behaviors on the part of the students, so it’s not like her job is a picnic. But she has more in store, this time for the professors:

“The thing I find most upsetting is that none of the other “professors” could
speak English either, so I must have seemed an oddball. No one knew the
difference between ’which’ and ’that’ or ’that’ and ’who,’ for example” The relative pronoun issue has been covered in most texts on English usage and its history and I’ll have to take the time to find some germane quotes to put in my Tidbits From the History of English category. I labeled her complaints imaginary and baseless. Snide, that was called, and sarcastic. Not really. They are in point of fact imaginary and baseless.

Furthermore, here are some words used in the post:
“On the one hand, I’m relieved to discover that I’m not the only one whose
students were idiot robots, but, on the other, I’ll say what I said to my
kids: *Why take English? Go straight to Arabic. You’re ripe for a takeover!” Unhh, sarcastic? Snide?

My fundamental question here is, why do posters, list members, who I know have high professional and scholarly standards defend these people and attack me? I just find it very strange. Surely my reaction to that poster’s words and attitude was intense, and it probably did nothing to convince the poster of the error of her ways, but could there have been something said other than the “I wouldn’t say that myself” concession?

Both the original poster’s comments on her students and on usage were labeled opinions. For a teacher to call his students idiot robots might be considered an opinion by some and many people simply do not know that there is solid and deep research on questions of usage, and so do think it’s all a matter of opinion. I disagree.

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