Tagged: humor

República papayera

Erase una vez una república bananera que no quería ser república bananera. (Aunque sea una obviedad, habrá que añadir que en realidad muy pocas repúblicas bananeras quieren serlo.) En esta república existía una isla montañosa, fría, muy diferente del resto del país, que—siendo honesto—era un lugar inhóspito para los bananos. Su gente se esforzaba de no parecer gente del trópico, se levantaba temprano, no hacía siesta, y lo más importante para la vida de cada uno era tener un trabajo y pasarse todo el día en éste. Aunque esto no implicaba que se lograra mucho a lo largo del día, lo importante era la constante presencia en el lugar. Todos vivían constantemente controlados y controlando a los demás para evitar cualquier parecido con la gente de las demás repúblicas bananeras. Empezando por los jefes, que vigilaban con ansiedad las horas de llegada y salida de sus empleados, hasta los padres de familia que no podían vivir un sólo día sin saber exactamente que almorzaron sus hijos. Claramente, cada respuesta se juzgaba según su parecido con lo bananero: no se podía comer en la calle, no podía ser comida rápida, y siempre tenía que ser saludable y con harta proteína, preferiblemente de origen animal, porque todo lo demás sería demasiado parecido a lo bananero.

En esta tierra sin ley, lo que abundaba eran las leyes. Era una gente verdaderamente obsesionada con las reglas y con la vigilancia de que se cumplieran. El secreto se despreciaba, porque presentaba un lugar en el que la gente podía pensar de manera bananera, y cualquier parecido con los bananeros del resto del país era lo que se tenía que evitar a toda costa. Evitar parecerse a gente de república bananera era incluso más importante que obsesionarse con su trabajo. Lo que es más, la gente que no tenía trabajo tenía que esforzarse aún más para no parecer bananera. El hecho de no tener trabajo se consideraba una falta individual que demostraba que la persona sin trabajo era un perezoso que no se había esforzado lo suficiente, porque ¡trabajo sí hay!, y por lo tanto, se esperaba que la gente sin empleo se comportaba de manera impecable, es decir, sumisa y a la merced de los demás que si trabajaban. Continue reading

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Docende discimus.

“To be a good teacher, you have to be part stand-up comic, part door-to-door salesman, part expert, part counselor.” – Bob Solomon

Halfway through the semester, it’s evaluation time again! And just because I like my seminar, that doesn’t mean my students do, too, especially considering that lately I forced them through tough theoretical readings and noticed an increasing disatisfaction on their parts. But, and that might be worse, I also noted an increasing disatisfaction on my part, because discussions would become slow and time and again they tried to force me to give them some ready-made answers to questions where “it depends”. Plus, many times I just feel they prefer to stick with their preconceptual ideas of affect, when for 8 weeks now we’re actually reading different approaches they could chose from to have a fruitful discussion. However, I also see evaluation as an opportunity to reassess my expectations and impressions of my performance, because in the end the important thing is that we all learn something from this.

So yesterday I handed out the evaluation sheets, and shockingly got the results back this morning already. I was hoping for some time to digest, especially since yesterday’s session wasn’t what I would call a complete success. Now the reason I got the sheets back so early is because they’re computer-based and converted into statistics, and my report is now full of colorful lines and circles which I feel I would need an introductory seminar to statistics to actually fully grasp. But then again, there’s the comment sections, and these do time and again offer clues on what the lines and circles might mean. First of all, let’s say it worked out fine, I’m mostly above average, which I think is great considering the international (50% are exchange students!) and interdisciplinary backgrounds (there is even a sport science student!) of my students and the demanding readings, and especially that this is the first seminar I invented all by myself.

What I learn from this, is that I have to continue thinking about how to make my learning philosophy much clearer, because my students want “clear” and “exact” answers, when I want them to learn that precisely those do not exist in many of the texts we’re reading and the problems we’re working on. In a similar vein, this goes for me chairing the discussions. I do not like to interupt people in class, and of course I do not have something to say about every comment they make. But for them, this might often look like I don’t care, or don’t moderate strictly enough. So I’ll have a look at the university’s advanced vocational trainings on these issues. Overall, the survey left me quite motivated, however, and I will try my best to make some concepts a little clearer in the next sessions. Also, there was this one comment that really gave me the feels: “This is one of the best seminars I have ever had. (…) You’re a wonderful and inspiring instructor. This is university as it should be.” How would I not want to make the most if this class now?