Saturday, January 31, 2009

"The Regulars." Dana From Decatur Sends an Open Letter to The Old Dudes In Her Class.

Yes, you are older than me. You have lived many lives, seen many sights, and my experiences pale in comparison to yours. True. Fine. Great. And yes, you are maler than me. No need to whip out any proof; I had established that much myself. But here’s the thing, guys: THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU GET TO COMMENT ON HOW I RUN THIS FUCKING CLASS. Got it? In fact, I don’t value your opinion any more than that of the snot-nosed eighteen-year-old sitting next to you, whose mommy forgot to pack him some Kleenex this morning.

You see, you are here, in my classroom, at this glorious CC. MY classroom. MINE. You do not win it, get an increased say in it, or have any reign over it simply because of your old maleness. We are not going to debate this. We are not going to arm wrestle for it. I do not want to know how you think I should “handle” the brat in the corner who keeps talking during class. I am not interested in your calculated estimations of the perfect amount of time to allow for quizzes. And I am not going to listen to your opinion of how I could re-structure the syllabus to make it more “pleasant.” I don’t want your emails critiquing how I handled class discussions, I don’t want your patronizing “support” (“Keep ‘em on their toes!!”), and I certainly don’t want your not-so-subtle grade pandering (“I know you can see how hard I’m working - especially compared to the rest of them - so I’m sure that my grade will allow me to continue receiving financial aid so that I can feed my dear children.”)

Friends, in my classroom, YOU ARE ONE OF “THEM.” You are not God; you are not my co-pilot. You are another student, no different than those fresh from High School. Your life experiences have earned you no superiority here. Period. Done. I know the thought of being lumped with Playa’ Pete, Ditzy Dalia, and Slacker Sara may seem vaguely repulsive to you, but by enrolling in this class, you committed to it. I don’t know what brings you here at this point in your life, and frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn. If you want to succeed, do an exceptional job on all the work and show some respect (as in deference to my opinions, practices, and pedagogy - look it up - since this IS my job). But if you keep up this condescending, pseudo-kindness bullshit, you can guarantee that you’ll be just like them—an entitled, narcissistic egomaniac who thinks he deserves something that he is entirely unwilling to work for.