Thursday, December 09, 2010

Can't believe they pay me to do this

And not in a good way...

Let me say first that the idea of area studies is a great one. Awesome. Vital.

But it just seldom translates to that in reality.

Last week, our area studies class was cancelled. Apparently there was a death in the family of our speaker, and no time to reschedule. That said, there was NEVER a noticed up saying what that week's program was and where it was to be held. So I suspect they knew early on that it was cancelled, and never bothered to let us know. I had to hunt down the info on Thursday afternoon.

So we actually had class today. But once again, our speaker knew next to nothing about the area we were going to. Our area studies professor is an expert on one of the five countries we cover in area studies, and our classes and speakers lean hard towards that country. So today's lecturer spoke knoweldgibly about that one country and had nothing really for the rest of us. He read some stuff from the computer, and made a couple comments...that were wrong.

Total waste of time.

I am interested. I WANT to know more about where I am going. I think it is really important. But only about two classes so far have been useful. Really annoying.

We also found out today that our professor has decided to retire. Next week, we have breakout sessions (hooray! We'll have folks from our countries to talk to!), and he is going off campus for one of them. Starting in the new year, we will have a new instructor.

We have had our new instructor speak to us already. He knows a lot, particularly about our countries. But he thinks he knows everything. And that he is smarter than everyone else.

And he is very dismissive of folks in the government, because they are all clearly too stupid to never listen to him.



fourglobetrotters said...

Seems to just be an overall trend with the Area Studies folks. When I took Intensive Sub-Saharan Africa Area studies (insanely stupid idea by the way. should have been broken down to West, East, Central and South, but whatever) right before my first post, after the first week I wrote in parentheses right under the class banner or whatever that's called "We Really Mean Nigeria". Total waste of my time.

I thought that was a one off, but when I took NEA Area studies it was the same thing. I don't understand why the FSI folks can't wrap their brains around the fact that most of us are intelligent and can assimilate more information than they give us. I guess it's just teaching to the lowest common denominator again. Ugh.

Diplogeek said...

I have to say, our area studies instructor is a good guy, but he spends a lot of time on turn of the century stuff and earlier, which isn't really my cup of tea. He says we'll get to more recent events soon, though, so here's hoping. Our guest speakers have generally been very good. Of course, it helps that there are so many of us that we get an area studies class solely for China. If I were going to, say, Singapore and ended up only hearing about Burma or something, I'd be really irritated, as well.