I'm slowly aggregating the reasons why Dr. Hair Shirt bothers me so much. Consider it a by-product of being raised in a debate society; it isn't enough to have a position -- there must be reasons for that position and they have to be defended vigorously. Dr. Hair Shirt is not introducing me to a new concept here even if he thinks he is.
Boiled and simplified:
He demands that students show respect to each other and to him; this standard of behavior does not apply to the teacher.
He is teaching misinformation.
Now every teacher can occasionally make mistakes, or mis-speak, or simply have out-dated information. The mark of a good teacher is how much he or she is willing to correct these mistakes. Good teachers understand that they can learn from their students as well. To steal a phrase: "Minds are like books; they function best when open." He is not only unwilling to correct his mistakes, he will attack or ignore the person who pointed the mistake out.
Mind you, he's a lot like an abusive relationship. He isn't all bad and he doesn't 'always do' one thing and 'never do' something else. Dr. Hair Shirt does have a lot of valuable information, but the fact that he occasionally peppers it with bad information makes me question all of it. He encourages lively debate but humiliates and/or ignores those (okay, ME, lol!) who challenge him on issues or positions that are difficult to defend.
Which brings me to another observation: the dual goal of a good student. A good student will absorb all the valuable information from a class because it can be very important personally and/or professionally. A good student will also learn how to feed the teacher what will satisfy that teacher. The last is probably the most important step to learn in order to get a good grade out of any class. It's environmental manipulation 101; stuff we were born knowing how to do. Why people are so divergent in their abilities to successfully manipulate their environments is a discussion for another column, of course.
Another reason why he's making me edgy is that he doesn't give clear indicators as to what will satisfy him as a teacher. He wants to be an educational bully that's fine with me; as I've said before, working next to sociopaths quickly sorts out what you view as dangerous. [hmm, it just occurred to me that he could BE one; sociopaths don't all have to be Ted Bundy serial/spree killers; the most destructive often never kill anyone.] Anyway, there doesn't seem to be an objective standard as to what he wants. I've learned that this makes me very, very uneasy. He wants a term paper but doesn't want it in any 'style' such as MLA or APA or Chicago; as a college student this makes me VERY nervous. He wants to see if our arguments are logical which is fine, but so far I am not terribly certain what he would consider logical. Dr. Hair Shirt, whether he believes it of himself or not, seems more interested in tearing down than teaching.
Which reminds me, I've got to find a topic to write 10 pages on. Whew! I have a five-minute speech I have to make next week that isn't NEARLY as nerve-wracking.
Exercise: so far, jumping to conclusions. But that doesn't burn too many calories, does it?