Shades of Gray (more than 50)

I’m a perfectionist. This is doesn’t mean I’m anything close to a perfect person, but it does mean I have unreasonably high expectations for others and myself. When the world around me is different than the perfect world of my irrational fancies, I am driven to disappointment. This is my problem, and I accept full responsibility for managing my expectations. However, managing my expectations is not the same as letting them tumble to miserable levels.

When it comes to my education, I don’t expect perfection or even effective teaching—it’s extremely difficult. What I do expect is thought on the part of teachers.

Academia is a world of neither black nor white, but varying shades of gray. There may be no definitive answer to many questions, and that’s fine. But there’s a difference between a valid response to a complicated question, and a blatant distortion of information.

Academic questions can vary from concrete yes and no questions to abstractions that yield no closure. For example, is the United States of America north or south of Mexico? The seemingly obvious answer is north, but what about Puerto Rico? Does Puerto Rico’s presence at a latitude similar to that of southern Mexico invalidate “north” as an accurate answer?

We can amend the question, adding “most of” to specify the region in question, but even so, does most refer to square mileage or population? It doesn’t matter in this case, because the U.S. without Puerto Rico is greater in both magnitudes, but the problem remains and will always remain. Semantics destroys ideal, infallible truth.

“Jamaica is not a democracy.”

“This was the best year in film.”

I’ve heard both of these ideas from teachers, and many more would qualify. Most would say that the first one is wrong and the second one is an opinion. I would say neither of them reflects my admittedly impossible ideals, which is expected. But do they conform to reasonable expectations? Perfect accuracy may be impossible—this does not justify blatant discrepancies between class notes and generally accepted concepts.

Call me nit-picky or pedantic, but as one of many students who dedicate time and energy to class, I am disappointed.