Friday, April 2, 2010

Cara from Clay Center Revisits Our Discussion on Good Students, the Ones Who Make the Job Worthwhile.

Sure, there are some good ones that (usually) balance out the bad. If there wasn't we'd actually go home and shoot ourselves instead of just wanting to.

This semester I had Paraplegic Paul. Now Paul wasn't the brightest student I'd ever had. His emails weren't always coherent and sometimes I wondered what his question actually was. But he tried and he never ever used his disability as a crutch. Even when he dropped his rough draft with my comments on the floor in the middle of the night and nobody came to his house for hours, he understood why the paper was still late and didn't try to argue with me about it. He always added to the conversation in witty, intelligent ways and would ask a question no matter how silly he thought it was. He dropped my class a few days ago because he had the foresight to know that he wasn't ready to do well in it. He's going to take the remedial class next semester and then tackle the intro course again.

Da Nang Dan is an older former navy man and doesn't feel the need to say "well I'm not paying for school so why should I try?" Instead, he re-energizes an otherwise dead class with his (usually well timed) antics and fairly insightful comments. When others don't speak, he's always the first to jump in and participate. He's one of only two people who actually came in to talk to me about the comments I left on their rough drafts. He's missed a few days but has immediately and very professionally emailed me apologizing for his absence and informed me that he'll be asking his fellow students about what went on in class, exactly what I tell them to do in the syllabus. Obviously he paid attention to that when others (like Jack the Ass who keeps bringing up the measly ten points he lost because he couldn't get anybody to email him back) didn't.

Insightful Ian started off a bit pompous but is now getting the gist of what he's supposed to do. He likes to jump ahead of the rest of the class and the lecture to make it known that he's smarter than the rest of the students, but at least he participates and he gets it. That and after a few light glares and some well positioned "We're not there yet so hold your horses" he's curbed his need to puff out his chest. Instead of just writing about his boring little freshman life like everyone else, he writes about his dreams in his journal. As long as he doesn't bitch about not having written every day like he was supposed to I figure we'll continue to get along fine.

Army Ann is the perfect student. She pays attention, comes to every class, is always on time, doesn't flaunt her religion or try to use the fact that she's a single mom to get sympathy points. She is always the first to speak, never minds it when she's wrong, and seems really dedicated to every part of the class -- homework, papers, and journal. She understands the teacher-student dynamic and recognizes that I don't give grades, she earns them.

These are only the ones that come to mind. In each class there are a handful of students who are always on time and usually come prepared who don't make asses of themselves. These students make up for the one or two fuckers that just get under your skin every opportunity they possibly can and the ones who start out good but somehow become evil little monsters at one time or another during the semester.