Oh wow. So we finally have a picture of a black hole! Amazing. And scary. Here’s a force of nature that mankind cannot cope with. Ever. All the nukes in the world would be snuffed out if we even tried. I’m not particularly religious, but that smacks of the hand of God. Just. Wow.
On the domestic front, we’re wrapping up the Spring semester. It’s been very interesting. For the first time in my five years here, I’ve got three problem students who trying to game me. It’s funny because if they put as much energy into just doing the work as they have trying to get out of it, they’d be both smarter and less stressed than they currently are. Each of them have ‘completed’ all of the labs, late, and want me to accept their ‘work’ for a grade late. I’m using quotes here, because I have little confidence that they actually did the work in the first place.
Isn’t it funny when children less than half your age think they can pull the wool over your eyes? I have children who are older than they are, for gossakes. Anyways, I told them, “No, I will not accept your work.” I’m not going to validate their poor work ethic: I’d be doing them a disservice if I did. Sometimes, all of us have to take one on the chin in order to learn a more valuable lesson. I did. And now they’re going to, too.
The irony here is that I tell all my students about my checkered college career… At the ripe old age of 18, I simply wasn’t mature enough to handle college. Plain and simple: I spent more time in Tiger Town Tavern than I did in any of my classes. So I wound up in the Army, which helped me ripen up a little. But, even then, I still spun my wheels for a little while before I finally matured enough to apply myself.
Perspective is a funny thing. The things I thought were so unfair, 30 years ago, now just make sense to me. Sometimes, I wish I could revisit some of the professors who rode my ass so hard back then, just to say, ‘Hey! Now I understand what you meant, back then.’
If it isn’t already obvious, I’ve lost a lot of sleep over this. I don’t like failing students. But I console myself with the thought that they are the ones who have failed me. Not necessarily their fault — they don’t know any better. But perhaps the most valuable lesson I can teach them is this (and this isn’t my quote; it’s from Dr. Donald Sanderson, the best college professor I ever learned from): Your education is your responsibility.