Post Academic

Where Rage Against the Professor Comes From

Posted in Breaking Academic Stereotypes by Caroline Roberts on October 8, 2010
Tags: , ,

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionOkay, some misguided and soon-to-be disappointed soul ends up at Post Academic after typing “ass school” in a search engine. We apologize for not delivering what you were looking for, and you can stop reading now.

However, someone else has been landing here for “academics are assholes” as well, and I’d like to clarify that academics are not assholes. This statement seems important in light of the article by Thomas H. Benton/William Pannapacker called “Why Do They Hate Us?,” which I responded to a few days ago, with a tip of the hat to Rodney Dangerfield.

Comments like “academics are assholes” make me wonder why teachers in general get treated like dirt. There are assholes in every workplace, but teachers receive very little respect and very little pay in relation to their training and their workload. I can think of a few reasons why:

The Alcoholic Horndog Professor Stereotype on Film: Start reading here.

The Alcoholic Horndog Professor Stereotype in Fiction: Start reading here. Although the novels are more complex than, say, a Rodney Dangerfield flick, they make universities far more glamorous and dramatical than they actually are.

An Inability to Cope with Bad Grades: Many people cannot cope with getting bad grades. Who can blame them? But some people resent the power that teachers seem to have, all the way into adulthood. What they don’t seem to realize is that it is possible to get jobs without having a perfect GPA. So you got a bad grade? You’ll survive. You’ll probably be able to get a job, too, because GPAs aren’t necessarily a requirement on resumes.

A little amateur psychology after the jump! Caricature of Ward McAllister from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Displaced Rage Toward Parents: It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that it’s much easier to lash out toward a teacher you won’t see again after a semester than it is to rebel against the mom and dad who are making you go to school.

Displaced Rage From Parents: Resentment against professors lingers into middle age, and when a teacher has to talk to a parent about a student, a parent takes it as a personal affront or an implication that he or she somehow failed. It isn’t always the case. Students screw up and they make mistakes on their own.

Genuine Academic Assholes: There are plenty of them out there, and they get the reputation for being such assholes because they are so eloquent in their assholery. That said, an encounter with one academic asshole shouldn’t make you think that all academics are assholes. That’s a broad assessment, and you could be flunked for making a logical fallacy.

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  1. […] Where Rage Against the Professor Comes From. I just got a sunny email from our department chair saying she hadn’t gotten any complaints […]

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