Category Archives: Paragraphs
I understand the value to teachers of not having to spend time grading homework, but when I have a class where (math or science problem) homework is administered via a third party online service where you have to type in answers, I often spend at least as much time wrestling with the software than I spend actually completing the homework. So like, 2 hours of homework is actually 4 hours, where half that time isn’t actually about studying. It increases the likelihood that I am going to search online for help with a problem as soon as it starts to look complicated, rather than puzzle over it for a while and experiment (good for learning!), like I would do if I actually had all 4 of those hours available for doing homework.
I can’t speak strongly enough for what so many teachers have done over the ages: assign a selection of problems from the book whose answers are listed at the back, then give a checkmark or whatever to students if they at least make an attempt at a majority of the problems. The teacher doesn’t have to evaluate if the student is doing things right: that’s up to the student to ask for help if they are getting answers that don’t match the book. For classes where the homework counts for like 10% of the grade, this isn’t unreasonable and takes a minimal amount of time for the teacher: for an unreasonably large 40 student class in which all of the students actually turned something in, this should take no more than 10 minutes. Alphabetize the stack, then go through the gradebook and add a mark for each one that looks like work was done.
And it means the student isn’t stuck shelling out for the cost of this routinely crappy online service.
Frequently, when people set up surveys, they ask for gender. This question is often included out of habit, but it still is often a relevant question, even if the only contribution of the question is to show that gender doesn’t have a significant influence on other responses. In modern efforts to be more friendly to gender minorities, the gender question is often updated. And it’s often updated in silly ways.
Here’s the two most common “inclusive” ways I have seen the gender question presented over the last few years:
a) What is your gender?
* Prefer not to say
b) What is your gender?
If you see something presented as information (as opposed to opinion, fictional story, joke etc) along with “please copy and paste”, ask yourself: what is served by copy and pasting, thus erasing the source?
There are valid reasons for asking people to copy and paste before sharing to obscure the sources of some things. Some common reasons include:
- Managing distribution of information about protests and similar activities where the source can become a target of law enforcement, but many copy and pasted sources are more than law enforcement can do anything productive with.
- Minimizing spectator influx when something on Facebook gets shared beyond the sphere of people you’re up for interacting with.
- Getting past the shared-with-friends wall set by the poster of something you’d like to share.
The first of these is likely to include information that, by its nature, can’t easily be confirmed. The latter two have no reason not to have sources. Included sources. Continue reading
Being an ally is not the same thing as being a friend. This may seem obvious, or it may seem baffling, and hopefully this can be relevant reading either way.
You can be someone’s friend while also marginalizing them, either through microaggressions (such as being a cis person telling a trans person that they don’t look trans) or outright aggressions (such as being a white person calling a person of color a racist slur). They may or may not perceive what you’ve done as marginalizing. They may have gotten really good at finding internal ways to manage that marginalization (such as apologizing for your behavior for you, or agreeing with your behavior and its implications about them) in the interest of maintaining the friendship, or maintaining jobs, family, housing, whatever. They’ve likely lost any or all of those things before when advocating for themself about that thing. Yes, your friendship with someone can matter enough that they would rather put up with being repeatedly hurt by than risk losing yet another damn thing in their life.
This is a brief list of resources addressing the question of if trans women have a physical advantage over cis women in sports. (Spoiler: no.) Exclusion of trans women from women’s sports due to supposed physical advantage is often considered scientifically valid and therefore not transphobic. These links demonstrate the lack of scientific evidence that trans women have a physical advantage over cis women, and explore the history of developing policies of both trans exclusion and inclusion in sports. These are intended to meet the needs of people who are potentially open to this type of proof for trans inclusion, or at least who claim to be interested in science, but lack the interest, resources, time, and/or energy to seek out and interpret information which challenges familiar ciscentric standards. Allies, take this stuff to your cis friends!