Remembering the Old Lions

I look at my students: some barefoot, others wearing hats and dressed in clothes they could easily have slept in, and I think how the college classroom has become an adjunct of the dorm bedchamber. Sometimes, when I begin classes, I get the impression that the students resent my interrupting their conversations. Few of them take notes, and I unconsciously make an effort to be more entertaining…. Today’s tenure process, particularly the requirement that one get high scores on student evaluations, makes it extraordinarily hard to demand as much from students and to use the fear of disapproval as a motivation. It’s hard to deny there is a direct correlation between high scores on student evaluations, grade inflation, and the relaxation of standards. | From the perspective of more than a decade, I can see how much I learned from the old lions, but, if they had been required to hand out student evaluations, my younger self would have punished them with the lowest possible scores.–“Thomas H. Benton” —Remembering the Old Lions (Chronicle)