from the title of this article, i thought the letter was gonna go in a completely different direction….
So he starts off the email in a condescending tone, and then singles out specific students in a class wide email and tears them apart. While I agree with his main arguments, this is a rather dickish and immature response for a professor. Professors are supposed to foster intellectual growth, not call their students bigots in class wide emails. If he really cared about a student’s journey from a high school mentality to a college level discussion, he wouldn’t have sent out a passive aggressive email. That being said, this could be like one of those fake reddit popularized chain letter style stories, in which case, bravo sir, for not having the balls to say this to someone in person.
Scott is obviously trolling with the title. But surprisingly, I read this and the word “pompous” did come to mind. I sympathize with this man’s goals, but I find his methods distasteful. I don’t know whether this real, but I dislike that the professor called out specific students in an email to the entire class. The professor could have gotten the same point across without making an example of the students; the students named in this email know who they are and so do their classmates. This can polarize the classroom and discourage participation. The targeted students may be afraid to speak up and the rest may read this as permission to antagonize a specific group of students. Furthermore, embarrassing a student will not get him to change his thinking. I firmly believe that in situations like this, you should make the effort to find out why your student thinks the way he does and then give him the tools to reassess his opinions. Otherwise, you’re not doing very much to foster an environment where open discussion can occur, even if this is your stated goal. You’re just protecting the individuals who already agree with you. That being said - I don’t know what went down in class, but if a student is being disruptive to the point where he is hijacking the learning process, yes, you call him out. You also explain WHY he’s being disruptive and try to redirect the conversation in constructive ways. If you think there’s something more to be said to a student, arrange a private conference. I say this as an atheist with little tolerance for bigotry of any flavor: students need to be able to trust their teachers. As a teacher, you need to think about how your actions affect their interactions with you and their classmates. It is not always easy to do so, but you must care about all of them. This includes the ones with opinions and/or behavior you don’t like.