Resisting the Urge to Profess

By December 20, 2016February 22nd, 2021Selected Essays, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Some of my former-students-turned-academics like to explain things to me. Whether we’re talking about the dangers of political apathy or the health benefits of exercise, I am treated to mini-lectures that provide me with background information, context, and a broad overview that can take upwards of 30 minutes.

Some of these explainers have had a few years of college-level teaching as TAs while others have managed to snag their first jobs as lecturers and adjuncts. They have developed habits of mind that run toward educating. I’m sure they do a good job for their students and I try not to mind when they practice on me, even when they forget that I’ve been around a few blocks myself. In the right mood, I can even find the behavior endearing.

What worries me is how this tendency can become a tic for some academics — and an annoying one at that.

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