Tuesday, March 13, 2007

FLASHBACK: One Year Ago Today - A New Instructor Experiences Spring Break Freakout!

Spring break is over and in my first class on my first day back, my kiddies have already pushed me to the limit. Their tans. Their smiling faces. They make me achingly sick.

I asked them for one thing over the 9 day break - please write in their journals on at least 3 occasions. (I'm a writing instructor at a large public university in South Florida.) I even said, "I don't care if you write your entries in lime juice, or sex wax, or Kahlua. But just do 3 5-minute free writings, so we can continue our progress on automatic writing." I didn't assign an essay. They had no readings to do. All in all, it was absolutely the lightest assignment I'd ever given. It amounted to 15 minutes of work over 9 days.

For the first few minutes of class we had free discussion, mostly people talking about which island they'd been to, and how close they'd come to getting video taped for "Girls Gone Wild" or MTV's "Spring Break Freakout" or whatever. Then, in order to get on to the last half of the semester, I asked - as I always do on every Monday - for volunteers to read a portion of their automatic writings from the past week. No hands. No comments. Dumbfounded stares.

I smiled. I thought they might be embarrassed at their work, that maybe the debauchery of the week made them feel uncomfortable. "Listen," I said. "It wasn't that long ago that I spent every Spring Break in Cabo. I know what it's like. I was ripping it up down there when you were in middle school. There's nothing you wrote about that will shock me."

Still nothing. Nobody had their journals open - a bad sign. I asked for a show of hands. Who did the 15 minutes of work? Not a hand went up. When someone finally fessed up that he'd been too busy, I just wanted to read them the riot act. Don't they know that school is in session? Couldn't they be bothered to do one thing I asked. I have colleagues who assign full papers over Spring Break. Do those papers get done? Do these airheads and assholes ignore any instructions because they get a week off to get laid, drunk, and stoned on the goodwill of their parents and me?

Am I wrong to expect them to care one tiniest little shit's worth about the assignments and duties of this class? Do we just give them a complete pass on things like this? Go ahead, fry yourselves for 9 days and then once you're ready, once you've got the sand out of your crack, we'll get started again?