Friday, August 28, 2015

Academic snobbery

This post has nothing to do with foster care.

In fact, it has nothing to do with anything that I can discuss with anyone outside my nearest and dearest family members, and even then I have to be careful with whom.

But, I really, really need to vent right now.

In high school, I was one of those "best and brightest" academic kids. You know the ones. GPA over 4.0, taking all the AP classes the school offered back then and complaining that there weren't more of them, winning all the academic awards, offered academic scholarships from schools that I hadn't even applied to yet.

I went to a largish, private liberal arts university in the midwest. US News and World Report top 25 back then; I think it's ranked even higher now. There, I was surrounded by other students who were Just Like Me and I still did pretty well -- graduated with honors in 4 years with a double major in two areas that do not overlap at all.

After about 2 decades out of academia, I am now taking graduate school classes, working towards a Masters degree in an Education field. I am enrolled in a 100% online program at a smallish liberal arts school in my southeastern state's public university system. (Not the big flagship institution, one of the little ones with a directional description in its name.) Let's just say the admission requirements are not as stringent as my bachelor's program was.

I really, really don't want to be what my university professor uncle once described as "an academic snob." But.

The readings are killing me. Not because the material is difficult or there's a lot to cover or any of that. But because the assigned readings...we're talking about required reading assigned by an individual with a doctorate who is supposed to be teaching me to be an educator...are full of grammatical errors. Some of them are relied-on-spell-check typos: "the issue you as a perspective teacher face." Some of them are subject-verb agreement! One text (a published book that I had to pay for!) had a sentence with no verb phrase of any kind!

It makes me want to scream.

I get that typos happen. I'm sure I've made more than my fair share in the history of this blog. There might even be some on this post. And I can ignore and brush off errors in something posted on the message board about the next assignment. I will cringe, but can even let go of errors in the syllabus. But when the instructor chooses a text and assigns it as required reading? I expect it to have been thoroughly and professionally proofread. My blog is not an academic publication; these texts should be.

There's no way to complain about all of this to friends (and certainly not to classmates!) without sounding incredibly full of myself. I may sound that way to anyone reading this as well, but at least it doesn't burn any relationship bridges. But, oh, it is making me crazy. I want to break out a red pen and mark up the readings. Maybe I should. It might be therapeutic.

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