Suicidal Idiots

Why, why would anybody want a war with Iran?

Nobody needs to fight the Republicans. They have a clear and obvious death wish. They’ve got to be suicidal to try to get the US into a war right now.

I would be happy that these idiots are in self-destruct mode if I didn’t think the war would be such a disaster that it isn’t worth it. This is unbelievably stupid and wrong.

Anti-exam

Tomorrow another written exam followed by the two worst days of the year next Monday and Tuesday…. I hate exams… one of the most useless and anti-learning inventions known…

I agree. I’m from a culture where final exams constitute 100% of the final grade, and that’s a system that is way too easy to game. I gamed it for 5 years, so I should know.

If I were allowed not to hold any final exams, I would gladly dispense with them. But my school is weirdly obsessed with filling classroom seats with bodies during the exam week, so I can’t.

I try to rescue the concept of the final exam by walking around the entire 1 hour 40 minutes and working with each student individually. I teach language and literature. The teaching can’t be about people sitting around in silence. If a student spent the whole class session in silence, it means I failed at my job. When I was undergoing my pedagogy training, the professor would show up to my class, sit in the back with a timer, and make scary faces at me whenever I talked too much. (Curiously, there are still schools that castigate teachers for establishing a dialogue with students instead of lecturing. I’m looking at you, Concordia University.)

I also assign the lowest possible value to my final exams when I’m allowed to. I just don’t like the concept. The best thing about North American higher education system is that people are present and engaged all semester instead of appearing at the very end and rattling off stuff they memorized from the textbook.

I also detest textbooks. I assign a crapton of readings, obviously, but I like to tailor them to each course.

Detention Camps

On the subject of people who think that keeping migrants in detention camps is wrong and believe that they shouldn’t be detained and instead released with a notice to appear at their immigration hearing some time in the future.

They must believe that all of the credible fear claims are false, right? And all asylum claims are fake. It doesn’t work any other way, does it?

Because if you do believe that asylum claims are legitimate and people are escaping from horrific violence, then you wouldn’t want to let the perpetrators of the violence to follow the victims and keep victimizing them and all of us, right? So you’d need a way to distinguish between victims of violence and perpetrators. What can that be other than detention? It’s not like there are visible differences between these groups of people.

Anybody who believes that there is basis for asylum claims from Central American migrants should be for detention. (Or for doing away with the requirement for physical presence at the border to file an asylum claim, like I am). I’m not seeing an alternative that is rooted in any kind of logic.

Entitled Debtors

When I read these stories, I’m always confused as to what the author expects the reaction to be:

I have $235,000 of student debt. The first $120,000 came with a bachelor’s degree from my state school. Another $70,000 or so came with my master’s degree. The remainder is accrued interest.

This sounds completely insane. I work at a state school and can’t begin to imagine what one needs to do to rack up this sort of debt.

I understand paying more taxes to help the disadvantaged. But paying more taxes – and facing the probable closure of my state school that serves students who face real hardship – to benefit this kind of entitled, irresponsible folks? No, not really.

If this guy’s debt disappears, what’s the likelihood that he won’t rack up the same amount within a couple of years? He clearly learned nothing. Tomorrow he’ll decide he needs a house he can’t afford or that he’s investing in his future by traveling around the world.

Instead of debt forgiveness, the government – which owns student debt – should stop lending money for people to go into $70,000 master’s programs they can’t afford when there are great ones costing $8,000 and offering employment to more than offset that number.

I really, really detest this approach of “I spent ridiculous amounts on something non-essential and now everybody owes me.” $120,000 BAs are absolutely non-essential because you can get degrees for a lot less and pay for them as you go by working. Like my students do. Why do I and my responsible, non-entitled students have to pay for the luxuries of this entitled individual?

If his parents have $600 a month to pay to service the debt, he could have gone to my school (or a local one like it) and with a bit of effort graduated debt-free. It wouldn’t have the prestige of the one he did go to but prestige is something you need to be able to afford.