Ten Things I Hate About Tertiary Education


  1. If you missed class, contact a classmate to get notes and check the course website for any updates. Do not email me after the class to ask: “Did I miss anything important?” because I will provide a one-word reply: “Yes.”
  2. If you are having trouble with material, do not wait until the last few weeks of the semester to contact me for assistance. If you could make up a semester’s worth of work in two or so weeks, you wouldn’t need my help in the first place. If after the first several weeks, you are not doing well on quizzes and are having trouble doing the first paper, come to office hours. But see #3:
  3. If you don’t read the readings, I cannot help you. If you ask me to help point you in a fruitful direction for an essay in the 7th week of the course, and I ask you: “What does McMahon say about that aspect of Cold War?” and you reply: “Whose McMahon?” the only direction I can point to is the door.
  4. If you have questions about a reading, come to office hours and say, “I don’t get it,” I will then ask you what specifically you don’t get. If you say “the whole thing,” I will hand you a copy of the reading, have you read the first line, and ask you what you don’t get. If, however, you show up and say “I don’t understand what Tilly means on p. 17 by ‘accumulation’ versus ‘concentration’ of capital. I mean, he doesn’t give a clear example,” I will then explain the distinction. 
  5. I have office hours so that you can ask me substantive questions about the course and consult with me about any other matters (e.g., you will be off-campus for a valid reason when there is a quiz). Substantive consultations (i.e., discussions about international politics and theories of international politics) count toward class participation. Often, however, no one shows up at office hours. I can pick my nose and browse iFilm but I’d rather do that at home than in my office.  
  6. Some say that 90% of life is just showing up. Unfortunately, my class is part of the other 10%. Sitting solipsistically in class earns you nothing. I grade participation, not attendance. If you get a poor grade on an essay or quiz, the plea “But I attended every class” is irrelevant. When you attend class, you should participate during discussions or ask questions if something is not clear. For example, if I say something that contradicts what was written in the readings without acknowledging that it does, you should ask about the discrepancy. I do not take formal attendance. I get paid whether you attend or not. I also get paid whether you get an A or a F.
  7. When I’m talking during class, you shouldn’t be. When one of your classmates is speaking before the class, you shouldn’t be. If you want to have a conversation with a classmate, leave the room.
  8.  “When’s the next quiz?” To answer that question, I will look at the syllabus. Maybe you should too, or rather, instead of me.
  9. I don’t carry all the papers and quizzes around with me all the time. I hand them back after they are graded. If you missed class when I did so, you should come to collect them at office hours. Don’t ask me for the paper or quiz at the next class you happen to attend; I probably won’t have it.
  10. Don’t email me to ask for a grade. I hand graded items back in class. I wrote the grade down on the item and in my grade log. Most are posted to the WebCT gradebook later. If coming to class or office hours to collect the item was too arduous for you, looking up the grade and emailing it is too arduous for me.