Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ms. Mentor! I Need Your Advice! (Book Review)

Ms. Mentor's New and Ever More Impeccable Advice for Women and Men in Academia

Over the break, I had the pleasure of reading, "Ms. Mentor's New and Ever More Impeccable Advice for Women and Men in Academia" by Emily Toth. I think Ms. Toth is the same woman that responds to the "Ms. Mentor" column in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

This book referred to the pleasures and perils that faculty encounter on mos
t college campuses (especially on the tenure track). The chapters in this book range from "Stewing in Graduate School" and "Love and Sex in Academia" to "You're Hired! Early Years in a Strange New World" and "What is Life After Tenure?"

These chapters were relatively eye opening, but I really enjoyed a section titled, "What Do College Teachers Do?" in "The Fine and Quirky Art of Teaching" chapter. In this section Toth (2009) offers a mind boggling statement:

Ms. Mentor urges her flock - teachers and would-be teachers - to take stock of themselves once they begin teaching. It can be the most rewarding and enriching job on earth, and the most challenging...No other professions, except maybe courtroom law and standup comedy, pay us for constantly thinking, and for keeping our intellects sparklingly alive (p. 125).

In the same chapter, Toth gives advice to all faculty who wish to make a difference in their students' lives:

Learning students' names, create discussion circles, make chat rooms, assign hands-on group projects, require in-class presentations, encourage role playing. Today's students learn by doing - making a Civil War - era quilt from a pattern found on the internet, writing a sonnet...You may fear that you're denying your students access to The Expert (you). But if they are teenagers, most would rather interact with each other than listen to you (p. 141).

I strongly believe the last sentence of the prior paragraph. I was a millennial student and now I am a professor from the millennial generation. I have been in the same seats that the students are currently seated in. As a result, I know the boredom that some of them experience in the classrooms every day.

In addition, the book features a great bibliography. Some books that I plan to request through interlibrary loan are:

"I'm the Teacher, You're the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom" by Patrick Allitt

"Will Teach for Food" by Cary Nelson

"In Pursuit of Knowledge: Scholars, Status, and Academic Culture" by Deborah L. Rhode

I hope you enjoyed the short book review!

Millennial Professor

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi! Please contribute a comment (or two) about the post! :)