Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Mister Mister

I had my own DYKWTFIA moment the other day and frankly to throw in a movie line "I'm too old for this shit".

It was bound to happen and perhaps a few of you academically inclined people out there who stand in front of students giving your knowledge on a subject of choice, could tell me the right way of going about this:

The college I attend online suggest a website called Noodlebib to record all citations and give the wonderful people who teach us about the Nodes of Ranvier, Myelin sheath, and Schwann cells credit for their knowledge much like a picture on a blog.  For my first year I ran into zero problems using the site and getting credit for doing so.

Enter the crabby professor.

Yes, he had a bio page at least a page long that was filled with books released, academic titles unknown to myself and 99.9% of the world, awards, created cold fusion, and probably got a blowjob from Raquel Welsh in London during his wild and crazy days at Oxford while on a Fulbright scholarship.  Bravo.  *golf clap*


For the first five weeks of this class I get papers returned saying "not in APA format" as the only deduction in my grade.  In other words, the paper was fine but because I didn't use 13.75 Wing-Dings font and 5.29" indentations while using a school recommended website, I lost points.

I do not like this.  Again, 12 classes taken, zero problems.

So I type a quick email asking if he could point out the errors of the program so I appease his anal retentive ass.  I may have used other words after all this is a Professional Communications class.  I get the reply:

"I did not tell you to use Noodlebib, you are responsible for knowing how to use citations in APA format" signed MR. Johnson (bolded on the email as in DYKWTFIA!?!?).

Frankly, I don't care about the nit-picking (and I MAY have replied with his own assignment directions to use Noodlebib putting it in quotes, I heart pointing out things like that) and its bad because even in the corrected copy even he did not cite correctly, that's besides the point.  The point is the MR part as I started the email using his first name.  This is not high school, I pay to go to college, I am 36 years old and the last time I referred to a male as mister it was accepting my baseball letter from Osseo High School from Mr. Anderson (I think that was the coach's name) about 18 years ago as a 130 pound waif of a senior with a live arm, bad skin, and no self-respect.  For you professor and teacher types out there, and well anyone who enjoys "status", do you require or want to be called Ms. Mrs. Mr.? 

Now I have a big exception for Doctor, you earned that and fully deserve that in front of your name even after you're unable to solve the puzzle on Wheel of Fortune with all the letters turned over.  Mister is a title you get for having a dick or in this case being one, I suppose some doctors are dicks but they were not born with knowledge of the body and earned the title through a mountain of student loans, long study nights, and ramen noodles.

The question I have for the 20 or so people who probably know me personally, how does one respond so I don't have a big bullseye on my head for the remainder of the class?


BamBam said...

I hate to say it DRIZZ but I see no way around the "Mr." BS, that could possibly come out in a positive way. "MR" has short man syndrome and there will be no way of appeasing his ego.

Hate it all the way or better still, laugh at it. But in the end, I think you have to put up with it just the same.

I just wish I was creative enough to help you with this one.

StB said...

So the guy is NOT a professor? Screw him! Otherwise he would be using Dr.

Oh, you want a sensible answer.

I would suggest contacting someone else in the department or your counselor. Approach them asking for advice. The alternative is to go back to the not-a-professor guy and apologize for your mistake and ask him to verify the correct format.

DrChako said...

If you come see me as a patient, I'm called doctor. It's important for the transaction. No one wants to be told they have cancer by MR. Chako. When it comes from DR. Chako, it has weight and meaning.

You could make the argument that a teacher/instructor should be given some type of title to reflect their position as an authority on the given subject. You may be more likely to accept what you are taught when it comes from Mr. Anderson as opposed to Bill. Bill is a drinking buddy who may be full of shit.

That said, I have patients who will ask me my first name and insist on calling me that. I don't correct them.


Grange95 said...

Is your instructor/professor a Grade A prick? Hell yeah.

Do you need to suck it up and play the game his way? Hell yeah.

Dr. Chako hits the key point well--some positions in society come with an expectation of use of formal title. Reverend/Father. Doctor. Professor. Yes, even Mr./Ms./Mrs. when dealing with someone who is not a friend on a formal level. Society has gotten less formal over the years, but there are still many business situations where Mr./Ms./Mrs. is appropriate to indicate a degree of formality. Just look on your instructor like that.

lightning36 said...

I generally agree with all the previous comments. The guy is probably a dick. Unfortunately, higher education is full of them (uh ... excluding myself, of course).

Requiring APA style is not unusual and you should expect this, particularly in a Professional Communications class. He is probably irritated that he has pointed it out several times and you continue not to follow the proper format. However, the manner in which this guy handled things was not exactly student-friendly.

What to do? That is easy: 1) Do your papers in APA format. Your school probably has a Writing Center that can help you if you need assistance. 2) Make sure you address the instructor as "Mr" in any future communications. 3) Don't challenge his authority. You will lose. That's just how it is in higher ed. 4) Minimize contact with the instructor until the class is over unless you are good at sucking up and he likes suck ups. 5) Avoid this guy like the plague in the future if possible.

btw -- titles like "instructor," "assistant professor," and "professor" usually designate where in the school's hierarchy the person stands. The titles are usually conferred based on many standards including length of time at the institution.

Best o' luck. And oh ... I am technically Professor lightning36 at my school, but you may call me "lightning." : o )

lightning36 said...

Oh -- from my wife: If you have Office 2007, click on the reference tab. You'll see an option called citations and bibliography. It will allow you to automatically set up things in the right format. Click on the manage sources button, then select new. It will give you a fill-in-the-blank form for putting all your sources in and then formats them correctly when you create your bibliography. When you need to insert a citation, you just select the proper reference from the list and it sticks it in. Great tool!

Unknown said...

Thank you all for probably saving me from myself because I LOVE to challenge dickheads like this. Being out of school for so long and not really having "authority" over my head at work and a hate for being thumbed-down got me rusty putting on a fake smile.

And Lightning: Awesome! Didn't know about the 2007 citation helper, will come in handy for my final paper. MUCH appreciated!

SirFWALGMan said...

Being anti-social I say fuck him. Call him something sassy like if his name is David call him Davey.

Actually what I would really do is tell someone that you can not work with him and would prefer to be transferred to another class that does not contain assholes like him.

How many points do you lose for non-APA? Is this like A+ to A- level? If so perhaps a good solution would be to continue pissing his anal retentive ass off all class by never doing it correctly. Fucking drive him nuts! Unsure if your anal retentive self can stand losing the points though.

The Bracelet said...

Dude, if you only have one more paper and you think the APA points deduction can't drop you to a worse overall course grade I'd just keep on keeping on. Then, after you get the grade back send him an email as if you never sent the first one, asking him to explain the deductions. That alone might drive him mad. Then send him your reply in APA formatting calling him by his first name over and over again throughout the reply. Kindly remind him that you payed for the experience, it was your worst at the school, and move along.

You're welcome.

Unknown said...

Do I mention how much I love my friends?

I swear none of us would be alive if we lived within driving distance.

Anonymous said...

As a dean I refer to all of my faculty as "Professor" as some do no hold a doctorate (those I may refer to as Dr.). The student-faculty relationship is a formal one which the professor has the authority.
Like any unequal relationship, the authority is the one that sets the tone. You would not walk up to a boss you do not know and just call him by his first name, he/she invites you to do that. You would not just call your priest by his/her first name unless asked to do so.
I ask my studentsa to treat my faculty with respect and I DEMAND that my faculty do the same. You deserve to get detailed answeres to your querries (especially in an online class) even if they are questions about basic formatting etc. If this persists, a polite email to his department chair (with emails attached) may help correct the situation.
Finallym the APA website has some helpful hints and a style guide and there is a setting in MSWord as well.

Unknown said...

Very well stated Anon.

Again, I have not been in a "formal" setting business or school-wise in quite some time.

It is taking some adjusting to and all these comments definitely help so I do not become academic road-kill.

SirFWALGMan said...

I spend my whole life fucking with formal. Hopefully this will not change. Luckily it is kind of expected in my field.