Can the Graduate Student speak, & if ze can, will anyone listen?
I’m not really interested in the content of @briansarnacki’s post from yesterday (Sorry B!). I am, however, interested in the criticisms it generated. Most follow this pattern: grad student + “naivety” = dismissal of opinion.
It seems the same formula is used often to systematically silence graduate student voices throughout the interwebz. The exact same formula is used to silence graduate students who complain about the so-called “job market.” And the exact same formula is often used when graduate students critique their graduate school experiences. The formula tells graduate students what academia expects of them: shut up, work quietly, & accept the status quo.
In my opinion, it’s terrific that graduate students are so threatening & potentially damning that their voices must be silenced as soon as they utter a syllable.
(he also provides links to tweets that back up his point)
Something happened on twitter this week that motivated me to write this post. Generally, I’ve noticed a bit of a trend (granted, this is sampling bias) of Higher Ed folks tweeting, facebooking, reddit-ing, and otherwise publicly mentioning, kvetching, and snarking about students. Largely, this has been about students’ writing. Then, I noticed that someone else noticed, too. And then, there was a backlash. I am of the opinion that there is a fine line between being snarky and bullying. Satire loses its power in my eyes when it takes aim at the powerless. It is one thing to laugh with a person when they have a typo or an unfortunate word substitution (thong for thing, for example) (iPhone auto-correct gets me in trouble regularly. I once blew up an eye vessel laughing too hard at damnyouautocorrect.com). It is quite another to be laughed at.
Listen, we all get tired of feeling like we are repeating ourselves to our students. We get frustrated that nothing seems to change. But openly complaining on twitter is counterproductive at best, and hurtful at worst. The thing is that we can teach all we want; it is the learning that matters.