Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sarah From Sausalito Sure Is Obsessed With Snappy Simon the Super Keener. (She's Got a Problem with the Proffie, Too, But We Sorta See Her Side.)

Dear Professor,

The semester has just begun, but already the sour waves of defeat and failure are washing over me.

Let me clarify here, this is no complaint about the workload. Yes it's crazy hard shit, but it's also going to be my life's work and I adore it. Let me also assure you, it's not me; I read the books, I do the work, I argue with classmates over the dinner table - I promise you I am invested. The real problem here is ... you.

Wait! Hold your horses, don't write this off as a whiny sob story about how "Professor Meanie is out to get me for no reason and it's not fair!" Seriously, I swear it's not. I can even understand you on some level: this is a high tier course, and there was the big concern over enrollment numbers.... Well you needn't have worried. True, there aren't that many of us, but who needs the rest when you have Simon Super-Keener in your class?

He certainly talks enough for the rest of us. What interesting questions he has, to turn a workshop-style class (in which class participation is a major factor for the grade) into a one-on-one tutorial between you and Studious Simon. Or a master class, and the rest of us are only here as an audience, to watch and make Simon Spectacular feel even more superior and self-satisfied that he already is. Even when one of secondary students manages to get a comment in, Savvy Simon speeds to the scene and takes over.

I'm so psyched you two are having a great time here... but I signed up for this class for a reason, and whatever you may think, it was most definitely not to bask in the genius of Simon the Scholar. I want to learn this stuff, and it's not going to happen if Snappy Simon calls out the answer before I can work it out for myself, or if Simon Surpassing is ahead of the game by a few weeks and steals class time asking you about it.

Please... stop it. Stop him, shut down the Simonator and let the rest of us in on the game once in a while. I promise that we can be just as interesting and engaging if you give us the chance.

Very Sincerely,
(ANOTHER one of your students)