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Friday, June 15, 2012

Music Depreciation

It is unfortunate that I am reviving this blog to tell the story of another dropped course. From the first day I suspected there might be a problem. After class that day, I was speaking with the professor about ideas for quiz accommodations. "It's really no big deal," I explained. I'll just bring my netbook to class." "What's a netbook?" "It's a small computer, of course. I'll bring it on the day we take the listening quiz. You could just give me the questions on a pen drive and I'll 'X' my choices when I hear the music." "What's a pen drive?" With out me thinking about it my hand went to the side of my head and my eyes probably got wide. I'm not exactly sure what happened except that the professor suddenly said "don't look at me like that!" She went on to tell me that I was looking at her as though she were stupid and how offended she was. That is probably the strangest thing any human being has said to me this year. A few days later, I got the chance to explain that my facial expressions were involuntary and that I had never even seen my own face or that of anyone else. She seemed to understand. She also seemed willing to follow OSD procedures so that I would get notes and exams in digital form. Things went smoothly for a couple of weeks. Then she decided she couldn't give me listening quizzes orally after class anymore, and she would not send the materials to OSD. She wanted me testing in the office which she shares with several other staff and therefore could not guarantee to be the quiet environment that I need for a test. Here is part of one of her emails. "For this next Tuesday's Listening Quiz, I want to have you take it during my office hours. The reason is that since this is a 'timed activity', we have no idea how your reader software will help or hinder or interfere with the timing of the quiz for the rest of the class. To give us the opportunity to test the situation and the process, you will need to come in Tuesday morning at 9:30am to the adjunct faculty office #4152 to take it. Do not argue with me over this. You will need to make a request to the transportation service to accommodate this required event. Five days notice is plenty of time for them to accommodate your request." That morning, I did not show up at 9:30 because her unreasonable demand broke school rules and because her study materials were posted on the inaccessible myMusicLab website. I had been unable to prepare for the quiz. I still got there a few minutes before class was supposed to start. Some students were listening to snippets of music to finish studying. She asked me to step into the hallway, where she began talking down to me for not showing up. One of the last things I said to her was that she was acting like a mom rather than a professor. Earlier today I got a call from the professor who will be teaching music appreciation the second half of this summer. It had been recommended to me by both the head of OSD and the chair of the music department that I switch classes. The new professor sounded very calm and reasonable over the phone, and I think we will have everything worked out before class even starts this time. I have perfect pitch and synesthesia, can play the trombone by ear, and listen to live, high-quality music any chance I get. In high school, being first chair in the honors band and placing well in competitions was the talent I had to be proud of. I never imagined this course would be a problem. For just about all students with disabilities, I think this lesson is very important - always talk to the new professor before school starts.