To the Editor:
I’m not sure what fantasy world Melissa Stuckey and her GESO cronies are living in. In her letter to the editor (“Learning on the job doesn’t negate value of work,” 4/20), Stuckey arrogantly claims that section is where undergraduates “learn how to read critically, how to develop strong arguments, and how to write.” It is self-important drivel like this that drives undergraduates and the administration to despise GESO.
In six semesters at Yale, I’ve taken nine sections. Two or three have been worthwhile, and this is a common trend for undergraduates. When faced with an optional section, it is no surprise that most Yalies opt out of attending. Sure, each time a TA writes comments in the margins of our essays, we would be wise to heed the advice. But that has nothing to do with teaching section. If developing “strong arguments” means robotically reciting facts from the readings or going into section with one pre-planned comment so as to fulfill our participation requirement, then yes, section teaches us how to develop strong arguments. Students at Yale learn how to develop strong arguments by talking about real life issues with other stubborn Yalies, not from section.
Stuckey’s assertion is just a microcosm of the problem with GESO — its members have no sense of reality. With the exception of language TAs, their claim that a graduate student’s teaching responsibilities are comparable to those of a professor is laughable at best, and disrespectful to professors at worst. Their declarations of mass support are painfully delusional. Their voting results are shrouded in secrecy. And worst of all, they claim to be employees. Last time I checked, they were students at Yale, just like law school students and medical school students and undergrads. GESO needs a healthy dose of reality; otherwise, it will breed more opposition, cementing its failure.
Carl Williott ’06
April 20, 2005
The writer is a frequent contributor for scene.