Last fall I was hanging out by our building’s vending machines, talking with a friend. She told of a problem student. I matched her. Then she said something like, We ought to feel guilty, complaining about our students!
I wasn’t so sure—I'm not so sure. Problems lie at the base of all good narratives: nobody cares about all those boring happy families that are all alike, and as teachers we can’t waste our time geting riled up about the 98% of our students who do what they’re supposed to do and learn, and leave. (Though they make us very happy indeed). Instead we concern ourselves with the crazies and the prodigals, and they make us crazy and frustrated, and we slay the fatted calf or whatever to celebrate if they finally get it together and care enough to turn in a decent paper.
Update: rateyourstudents.com has reincarnatred as College Misery. Perhaps the snark—and the anger!—will live on.
Update update: After six weeks, College Misery is pretty slow off the mark. I think now one of the strengths of RYS was the fact that it was mdoerated, and the moderators had pretty high standards. College Misery is unmoderated, and people just post seemingly random complaints about whatever. Snark without wit is snottiness.