Friday, June 17, 2011

Broeverbs; the proverbial sayings of David Boevers, edition 3: On Sucking

My favorite Broeverb so far is this one, referring to the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama:

"We're the best in the world at what we do, and we still suck."

I have waited a long time to put that one up because I thought it might reflect negatively on the School, but since the Professor went ahead and did it anyway, what the hell. On his blog, David points out that it is actually fairly celebratory, but reminds one to stay humble. True, but actually what I really like about this Broeverb is that it also does the opposite. Now, we have really terrific students in our program, and generally they work their butts off and excel brilliantly. And we, as faculty, work our butts off for them. Every day I solve problems in the program, negotiate with other faculty to help my students, assist other faculty on projects for their students, recruit them to help me with mine, help build the program generally, look for new experiences and resources to improve the student's experiences, and on and on. That's my job, and I like it. But students being students, they sure do seem, perhaps from the exhausted perspective of the faculty, to be able to point out every feature of every facet of the work we do that could be better. I'm not saying they complain constantly. No, actually I am saying they complain constantly, but that comes as much from a place of wanting to have a genuine, profound, and challenging experience as it does from a sense of privilege or entitlement. What the students don't see all the time, I feel, is what they are getting for their investment compared to other programs they might have chosen. The School really is quite remarkable in many ways. As much as I think of myself more as a Tigger than an Eeyore, I guess I tend to concentrate on the things that need improvement, which is fine, but sometimes I forget to think about how much we are getting right, every day, and how proud I am of the work that we do collaboratively with our students, because we still suck and I guess I wouldn't have it any other way.

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