The Pedagogical Philosophy of a Graduate Instructor

(Originally ran March 15th, 2004)

After nearly two years of writing for this paper, I've realized that there are some topics I haven't covered, like sedation dentistry, the Cha-Cha, and senator John Kerry's hair. I usually avoid writing about sports, since I don't want to step on another section's toes, and I still haven't gotten around to the "electrifying potential of manure" column I promised earlier this year.

I've never really talked about the fact that I teach at this university, either. I found out a while back that I'm not eligible for the "Professor Profile" section of the paper since first of all, I'm a staff member, and second, I'm not really a professor. So I guess the only way I can present my pedagogical* insights is to interview myself for this column. Never let it be said that Josh Terry won't sacrifice for his readers.

The following transcript was complied from a series of interviews recorded in March 2004. Author's note: "Although Mr. Terry was quite amenable and easy to contact for these interviews, I was quite put off at his habit of prefacing his answers to my questions with the phrase 'that's a fascinating question, pinhead, and now I will unfold the answer to your inferior mind.' These sections have been deleted from the text to save space."

Baboon Shavin' Tunes: So, how long have you been teaching here at USU?

Joshua Terry: About two years.

BST: Amazing. Yet you have the confidence and repose of a seasoned veteran of academia.

JT: Yes.

BST: Where did you do your previous schooling?

JT: I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Utah.

BST: Why do they call it a "Bachelor's Degree?"

JT: I don't know.

BST: You are a bachelor.

JT: Yes, but that wasn't required.

BST: What would you say is the primary difference between USU and the U?

JT: Rick Majerus is the only person that lives on campus at the U.

BST: If your blind date arrived at your doorstep with an ear of corn lodged in their hair, would you say something or just assume it was some sort of fashionable political statement?

JT: I'd try to find some way to bring it up in conversation, like, "here, try on this hat. But first, let me get this ear of corn out of the way."

BST: Would you rather be reincarnated as: A-The Sultan of Brunei? B-Senator John McCain (R-AZ), or C-A Mollusk?

JT: Wouldn't I have to be reincarnated as something that hasn't been born yet?

BST: So what do you have your students call you in class?

JT: Josh. I'm not a professor; I don't have a PhD.

BST: Do you know that according to the Starsky and Hutch Pimp Name Generator**, your official pimp name is Luscious Josh "Willy"?

JT: Yes. My roommate's is "Fly" Supreme Aaron.

BST: What exactly does "PhD" stand for, anyway?

JT: "Paid Heavy Dues," I think.

EDITOR: This has gone on long enough.

BST: Excuse, me, I'm trying to have an interview here.

ED: You call this an interview, I call it a bore. I can't believe that you've stooped so low. The notion of interviewing yourself.

BST: It seemed like the only way to cover the pedagogical-

ED: You mind telling me what reincarnation and blind dates with corn fixations have to do with pedagogical theory?

JT: If you'll excuse me, I have some matters to attend to at home.

ED: Do we really pay you for this stuff?

BST: I'm sorry. I've spent nearly all of Spring Break with my head buried in my computer screen, working on my graduate thesis. The only time I got out was when I went to the Jazz-Lakers game.

ED: How was it?

BST: It was fantastic. Shaq got tossed in the fourth, and all of the Utah Laker bandwagoners had to leave with their tails between their legs.

ED: Why didn't you write about that?

BST: It's a sports story.

ED: You could throw in some pop culture references, maybe mention a story about a cow somewhere in Europe. I hear Jack Nicholson is a big Laker fan.

BST: You're right. I'm a miserable failure, even for a journalist. I should have kept the PR job.

ED: Don't be too hard on yourself, after all, you do have your thesis defense coming up. When is it, by the way?

BST: Today*** at 2pm.

ED: You'd better get over to Ray B. West, then.

BST: Huh? I already left.

*Technical term for education theory, used to prove that I really do teach.

**See the "Starsky and Hutch" movie web site.

***Written under the assumption that "today" is the publication date (March 15th, 2004).