Politics in Education you say? Never! Unfortunately this is a reality. This is not (necessarily) the same thing as bureaucracy. This is not (necessarily) about teachers being bogged down with the adult equivalent of busy-work; tracking every single digit of each students progress on a variety of forms preventing the educator from doing the one thing she should be doing: teaching! This is not (necessarily) the same thing… but it is probably closer than I’d like to think about. No, I’m talking about office politics. Sometimes it gets ugly.
Students, remember how I’ve written frequently about the syllabus (and I will again I’m sure) and how important that document should be for you? I’ve also written about the opportunity you have during instructor evaluations to actually improve the course you are taking. Notice that this is at the end of a semester. This, in part, is a political thing. While we’d like to believe that every instructor is approachable during the semester for suggestions on improving the course (test the waters gently) it is possible that they would be offended or unable to take even well meant criticism. Politics are everywhere.
For the moment my struggles with technology have come to a close. Despite my best efforts to identify problems, enlighten others about those issues, and collaborate for a better situation for myself and my students politics have gotten in the way. I truly shouldn’t be surprised… but I’m an optimist by nature. Since politics have entered the equation I am now planning a total abandonment of certain technologies for the next semester. This requires some significant reworking of the structure of the course as well as assessments, teaching assistant duties, and other areas I haven’t realized yet. Is this unfortunate? Yes. Is it necessary? Yes… but boy do I wish it wasn’t.