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Empathy is often grounded in experience
I myself was a pretty lame student back in the day… But when I say lame–in response to Takunishi‘s comment–I mean I was uninspired and unmotivated, i.e. lame–academically weak and crippled. Insight and acknowledgement of my own deficiencies urge me to be more understanding of my students issues–whatever they are. Most academics I know are friggin’ geniuses. They are brilliant and often do not understand the problems many students might have. Perhpas worse are the native speakers. I have had teachers who could never teach because they have absolutely no idea the issues that non-native speakers have.

“Learn the adjectives; it’s easy.”
“Yeah, right. Adjectives don’t conjugate in English…”
“Oh, okay, just memorize it then…”
“Thanks…”

NOTE: In case you’re worried, the instructors in our program aren’t like this. We have had many discussions about this and there shouldn’t be a problem. If there is, let me know. You guys know where my office is–

Anyway, I liken these people to Ted Williams who was a great baseball player but a lousy coach/manager. He was a natural, and never understood how hard his own players had to work to reach a level of competency. When he was the manager of the Washington Senators, he would always blow his top in frustration: Just keep your eye on the seam of the ball and watch the rotation! Just turn your wrist over and pull the ball! Just, just, just. Well, I’m the Freddy Patek (KC Royals in the 70s?) of academia: Short, no power, just good enough to make it to the show, but I try hard. And no, I cannot see the rotation of the seam of a baseball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. Can you believe these guys? They can actually see red stitching, determine the kind of pitch that is coming and decide whether or not to swing, in about 0.074 seconds (I just made up the number). Me? I close my eyes and hold the bat out, hoping to connect.

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