Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Matters More

I've been teaching my trademark course on Hispanic Civilization for the last two semesters. I love it, and the students seem to agree. Twice as many students registered for it in the second semester than in the first. Now we are in April, and I'm already receiving e-mails from students who want to register for it for the Fall but there are no more spaces in the class left. Apparently, these students heard about the course from their "peeps" and became very interested in taking it. (I'd gladly insert a false modesty spiel here but I'm way too tired for that.)

I've asked repeatedly to be given a larger classroom that would accommodate everybody who wants to take the course. This hasn't produced any results because larger classrooms are needed for "more important" things, such as calculus and statistics. Of course, differential equations (or whatever it is that the students do in those courses) are a lot more crucial than learning about art, politics, nationalism, and ideology.

The students keep begging me to let them into the class but the room I was given is small and the number of chairs is limited. The floor space that some students suggested they might use to sit during the class is kind of limited, too. Besides, I tried this once, and the experience of students looking up my skirt all class long is highly disconcerting. It's very annoying that on the one hand, we are being pestered to raise enrollment numbers, while on the other we are prevented from allowing into the classroom all the students that we managed to attract to our subject matter.


Pagan Topologist said...

I would argue that the course you teach and the courses in calculus and statistics are equally important. But, it is rather like arguing whether wings or engines are more important to an airplane.

I have sometimes been able to get a larger calssroom by being willing to teach in the evenings or at 8:00 am. If you can do one of those, it might be helpful.

Clarissa said...

Most of my students work, so evenings are out. Except for grad courses, of which this isn't one. I was told that scheduling a morning class is out too because the students don't register for those.