Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where a Number of Readers Line Up For and Against The Principled One.

  • Principled Paul has me thinking: I'm going to start hiring a student from the Theater department to come into my classes on the first day and play the part of Prick. I mean, how great would it make the rest of the semester, to have the entire class see you kick someone out on the first day? And have it actually stick--as in the guy never shows up again--rather than having the pussies in the administration taking the jerk kid's side?

  • Oh, yes, the principled ones are always the heroes. Well, Paul's an asshole and I hope his consulting money chokes him. This is not some noble act, Paul. This is petulant and childish. Why not work the situation through with your chair and the Dean? Why not go to the mats about it? You took your ball and went home? Fuck that.

  • Kids do stupid things. I did, I know, and the "prick" surely did. But what has been learned from this? The kid's going to think he got Paul fired. Paul, who may or may not be a good teacher, has just turned his back on everything leaving the mess for someone else. It's ugly and awful, and nobody acquitted themselves very well.

  • This situation made me sick: speechless, stomach-churning, enraged and ultimately powerless. Apparently Paul could afford to quit rather than take that jerk back into his section, and although I'm sorry that he had to do that, I'm glad he did; sometimes principles can trump b.s. administrative fiats. But that leaves the rest of us who can't afford to quit shakier than ever. What happens when we get our 'own' asshole student? I would have done exactly what Paul did--exactly. But when faced with 'take him back or else' I would have had to cave and take him back, however much I would have hated to do so. This frightened me a lot.

  • Principled Paul is my hero. Bravo, sir, bravo. Even if it's not going to do anyone any good, because the system is so broken that they'll find a desperate someone to take their shit and eat it too.

  • Paul is living proof that those who can't do, consult. Never toss a student overboard when the structure of your class can do it for you. Darius from Dogpatch pipes up wise? Good. Go Socratic on his ass. Forever. His life, not yours, is about to become a living hell. Your problem was that you let the little mouthbreather see daylight. Consider how fast this all turned around. He's done this before. Do your job. You're the teacher. Time to teach someone a lesson. Right there. Day one. In the classroom. Darius Dunceboy's going down. He needs to explain - to you, to the class, to the flag on the wall - why he believes that his behavior is acceptable. Make him squirm. Make his neighbors squirm. Make the little birdies parked on the windowsill squirm. Next, it's essay time . . . for everyone. Let's all address this question in 500 words. Call it a teachable moment.