Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Let the Pain Begin: A "Celebration of Students."

  • A small but heartfelt request: My office is small. In winter if I open the window we'll both freeze. So if you're coming to my office hours, I don't care how certain you are I'll be blown away by your brilliant ideas and ready to chat with you at length - for the love of Pete, PLEASE WASH. There's only so long I can hold my breath. And if I leave the door standing wide open and the fan on, please have the grace to believe me when I claim that I'm trying to reduce the viral load during flu season. I know it's lame. But I can hardly tell you that your B.O. would fell an ox at forty paces. Just while we're here, it's entirely your business if you want to wear the same clothes every day. But would it kill you to run them through the wash every week or so? Just asking.

  • To the anonymous sorority girl who burst into my small discussion class halfway through the period, two weeks into the class, to demand whether there was still room for her to join: It was a pleasure to tell you “no.” It was an even greater pleasure to watch your reaction validate my quick judgment of your character: You rolled your eyes, made some back-of-the-throat noise, and exclaimed, “Oh, gawd” before slamming the door and leaving. Everyone in the class thought you were an idiot, which only raised the lot of them in my estimation. The semester is well underway, doll. You can’t go poking your head into random classrooms until you find one that welcomes you with open arms. Even if I had room in the class, I’d be damned if I were to spend hours of my time catching you up on the work you missed when you clearly chose my class, not out of interest, but because it happened to be near where you were standing.

  • The ‘A’ student...I heard you the first three times; you only got ‘A’s in high school. Therefore you should not be in this class (formerly known as remedial writing—now that’s just too honest). I know you didn’t ‘really try’ on the exam all students take at the beginning of the term to see if remedial, I mean ‘support’, writing is needed because you’re an ‘A’ student, after all. Please feel free to take your essay (with a big red F on it) back to your high school teacher who gave you that ‘A’. (And just to be clear, I’m quite sure this teacher who thought you were ‘a great writer’ exits only in your imagination-- perhaps in your D&D world as a scabby, one-eyed elf because now that you are ‘really trying,' it is obvious that you have not a clue. Or maybe she did give you an ‘A’ with the two ‘S’s missing.)

  • My self-esteem as a teacher has been ravaged by students. Where do I begin? The4 girls who sat together and spent the entire class glancing at each other and sharing their contempt for me, not paying attention, and then complaining that they didn't get it? The jock and his girlfriend who sat together and snickered and rolled their eyes - and then complained they weren't given a day off when they wanted it? The guy who started class with his headphones blaring, and who got pissed off when I asked him to take them off? The same guy who used obscene language in classroom discussions, and when I warned him for his behaviour,went and complained to my supervisor - who came back to me asking me to be nice because the guy "cried" in his office? The music major who was offended that I wouldn't give him limitless leaves (because he as a music major was too good to attend Education classes), and who used his evaluation form to get back at me for not giving him exactly the grades he wanted? The guy who was mad that the attendance policy was being enforced? When will the pain end?