Monday, August 24, 2009
This is a very late reply to Dr. Mindbender's post on crying students. I respect the fact that it is uncomfortable to have to sit in front of someone who is having a meltdown. I also acknowledge that there are students who would stand there and cry in front of their professors in an attempt to win leniency. Hell, I was friends with a girl who wrote a sob letter to her professor on the back of the exam she had just bombed. It was a disingenuous mix of mea culpa and flirtation- and apparently it worked because she got a B+.
However, please don't be so suspicious of every student who stands there and cries in front of you. I'm one of those emotional needy, type-A-kooky, nutty students who melts if something goes awry...and yes I've stood there and (gasp) cried in front of a professor (or three.) Yet, it's never been part of a plot to connive. Such a scene occurred last year when I arrived at my Roman Art final - presumably fifteen minutes early - only to find the class halfway through with the exam. It turns out that the official final exam schedule posted online had been amended in class the week before when I was out sick. I should have emailed the professor to confirm the time of the test, but I didn't because I didn't want to annoy her.
Yet, there I was after not having slept in 46 hours, holding with a container full of 300 flashcards and believing that I had just failed a graduate school class. Estrogen and adrenalin mated and a meltdown was born. Standing in the hallway, my body shook, my chin quivered and the tears came down....just in time for my professor to see me as she came out of her office. Now, perhaps, Dr. Mindbender would say that I should have regained composure and shown a little professionalism. To which I would reply- fat chance and you're assuming that the waterworks are a voluntary response. I don't want to look like a lunatic... I can't help it. I realize that should I ever actually find a job, I'll never be the perfect, professional automaton. I can only hope that I'll become a good enough art historian that no one cares that I'm a hot bed of hormones.
It's unlikely, but there may yet be hope in that respect. As I look at some of my professors I realize that they're people too.... mostly lovely, but complete with a whole lot of mishagoss. Yet, someone gave them tenure. I've sat through professors openly staring down my blouse, complaining about Jews and ex-wives (this one still disturbs me,) performing slightly paranoid rants about administration plots against them...You see - students aren't the only nutter butters in the cookie jar of college. Heck, I was on eHarmony and was accosted by a local math professor who asked me if I was dominant or submissive - I wanted to ask him if he was a plushy or a furry...
Anyway, hopefully you get my point - let's all try to respect each other and enjoy the experience as much as possible. Don't let us manipulate, but don't expect us to be preternaturally sane either - you're not.