Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The "But-that-doesn't-really-apply-to-me!" syndrome

I've noticed a pretty high occurrence of this syndrome in my classes. Here's an example:

I explained, very emphatically and on more than one occasion during the first week of classes, that I would not over-enroll my courses for three reasons:
(1) Over-enrollment in discussion-based composition classes makes them less successful for everyone involved.
(2) Over-enrollment is explicitly verboten by the department.
(3) TAs who allow over-enrollment forfeit some of their workplace protections.

I then told the waitlisted hopefuls--both in class and during office hours--that I could make them absolutely no guarantees they would get into the course, even if they were first on the list. I encouraged those who particularly needed the course to keep searching the online registration lists a couple of times per day to see whether a seat appeared in another section of the class.

Today is the day on which waitlisted students will be automatically dropped from the rolls. So, guess what?

Yep. I got an email in which a student (whom I hereby dub First Runner-Up) said s/he'd done a little sleuthing and noticed that some other course sections were over-enrolled, so s/he knew it could be done. First Runner-Up therefore opined that it would be really awful nice of me if I'd just enroll her/him, even though s/he knew I'd lose my union protections.

Here' s a little multiple-choice quiz for you:

What part of

(a) this Wiseass is not necessarily "nice,"
(b) there is no way in hell it makes sense for the Wiseass to lose workplace rights in order to grade extra papers, quizzes, and exams, and
(c) having apparently been an exception to the rules with one's parents and former teachers does not mean one gets an out with the Wiseass

does First Runner-Up not understand?

The answer, I suspect, is actually "All of the above."

So I replied that I was well aware of other TAs who ignored both departmental and union rules by enrolling extra students, losing their workplace rights in the process, but that I'd made it perfectly clear from the beginning that I was not one of those TAs. And I wished her luck.

Sorry, First Runner-Up. No tiara for you. That's just the way things work.

Somewhere, right now, this Wiseass is almost certainly being called "a bitch." To which she says, "Damn straight!"