Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Student. My Celebrity.

I don't want to stir up any more trouble for you with the "Julia Allison" crowd, but your piece last week really got me thinking. (My hubby is a geeky Wired reader, too, and after your post I read the offending article.)

But you're exactly right. Julia Allison is exactly like my undergrads. It's depressing that JA is 27 and STILL like this, but my own students have been coming to me for the last few years as their own mini-celebrities, well "known" in their small town, celebrated with humongous photo galleries on Flickr and Facebook and MySpace, and their attitude is that the world is truly waiting to see and hear what's next for them.

Imagine if you had Miley Cyrus in class this semester? She'd have her retinue, her busy schedule, countless appointments and events that took her away from attending class, and she'd probably expect you to cut her some slack. Now imagine 20 of her, and then multiply that by every class you teach.

I don't have an answer for this, but I think it's a widespread problem at most college campuses. Is it merely generational, this "everybody gets a trophy" mentality that I've read about on this blog and elsewhere?

My students treat me and their college life as if it were a little party thrown in their honor. They drift in and out of class, in and out of my office as if they were doing me some gigantic favor. Their social schedules take priority, hell, their need to update their Facebook page in class takes priority over taking notes.

And when I call them on it, it's as if I'm a well-meaning but out of touch oldster who doesn't understand. "But my friends are waiting for me. I HAVE to go now."