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July 06, 2017


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"I suppose it's possible that it felt really stressful and hassle-ful to make that one phone call, "

*Waves hand!* I have phone anxiety. If I were a student in your class, this assignment would cause me much angst and hand wringing and I would be cursing your name and throwing things at you in effigy.

One pregnancy, the one where I found out I was pregnant weeks after we moved to the other side of Boston, I didn't go see an OB until partway into the second trimester because the stress of having to find a new OB during the first trimester while I was queasy and vomiting was just too much for me. I couldn't deal with making all those phone calls and making a decision about a new doctor.

I'm sympathetic to phone anxiety. Students had the option of sending a letter via US mail as well.

Spouse teaches economics and I would guess that at least 15% of his students complain on evals about assignments he considers essential to the field. Mostly having to do with math of course. He assumes they have a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of the discipline, is as explicit as he can be about why math matters in economics, and otherwise shrugs his shoulders.

This is a bad year for shrugging in the face of opposition and it was a new assignment and it involved politics, which is objectively scary for professors. But students don't have to like every aspect of their courses. Courage.

I taught climate in the fall and had a similar assignment. Students were to write a letter to the editor or a letter to an elected official regarding the importance of science-based climate policy. I also got several "Keep politics out of the classroom" comments, despite efforts to make it as neutral a discussion as possible. But I mean, if you find yourself arguing that using science in your decision making is a liberal idea then why are you taking a climate science class?? I wanted to scream.

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