Saturday, October 20, 2007

Traditional post complaining about my students...

Yep, it is mid-term here and I'm sick and tired of them. In particular, I'm tired of:

  • "Texting girl" -- this is how I think of her. She sits in the front row and pays way more attention to her cell phone than to our class discussion. She has the nerve to type out long messages on her phone. I wish she'd pay that much attention to her papers.
  • "Airhead boy" -- I have several of these... generally, they are kind of cute (if you are a 15 year-old girl), dress in baggy pants and have a vacant look on their faces. They don't even bother to bring books or paper to take notes. They don't know what the assignments are and they generally don't get it.
  • "Mr. I know it all" -- He's generally in his 30s and doesn't think he needs my class, because he knows it all. At our college he's generally headed to be an EMT or a cop... elsewhere he's generally a business student. He's pretty clearly there to get the grade and not the education. I secretly cheer when he dorks up a quiz or paper, because I then have evidence that he doesn't know it all.
  • "Party girl" -- She's the one who is too hot to hang with "Airhead boy", but she's his intellectual equivalent. It is pretty clear by the way she dozes in the morning class that she's been hanging with a party crowd and that she spends most weekends at the big school across town.
  • "Worry wart" -- She's older and returning to school. I began the semester by admiring her, as she's taking a big risk returning to school. The problem is that she won't use her own voice when she writes, so she puts a citation behind everything. She also can't seem to grasp the parts of the assignment that require her to do original thinking.
  • "Grade grubber" -- "Concerned" doesn't cover her. She'll nit-pick every point missed. She'll do so while walking down the hall, before class, after class, in my office and anyplace else she can grab me.
  • "My friend" -- This is the student who wants to get to know me over coffee. She's sweet, thoughtful and generally a kind person. I suspect that if we'd met in a social situaiton, we'd become friends. The problem is that she's my student, I'm her teacher and I have to be able to give her objective criticism on her work.
Do I really have to come back from Fall break?


Seeking Solace said...

I have all of those too. Text Girl is in my TR Critical Thinking class. I am just about ready to yank the phone away from her!!!!!

I wish my college had a fall break. All we get is Columbus Day.

Jon Cogburn said...

I wish we still lived in the golden age of cultural anthropology. . . I think students tend to interact with male and female faculty differently, so I don’t know how these guys might act towards you, but my favorite is-

"Mr. Baseball Cap"- amateur ethologists sometimes have a difficult time distinguishing instances of this species from instances of "Mr. Know It All." Not only is Mr. Know It All on average a decade older than Mr. Baseball Cap, but Mr. Know It All has the tendency to dismiss the subject matter with trite yet sarcastic appeals to common-sense and/or life experience. For Mr. Baseball Cap, such overt verbal dismissal is simply too much intellectual work. All of his classroom energy is directed into: (a) maintaining a facial expression somewhere between vacant boredom and sneeringly condescending hostility, (b) discussing some combination of sports, alcohol, and sexual intercourse with fellow members of his species, (c) propitiating Party Girl by regurgitating unfunny jokes he has carefully culled from television situation comedies and commercials, and (d) bouncing his legs up and down. At his best, Mr. Baseball Cap refrains from (c) and (d) during lecture, and accepts his gentleman's C with all of the dignity that members of his ecological niche can muster. In a developmental process little understood, Mr. Baseball Cap can (at the end of adolescence) often transforms himself into Mr. Know It All, but also sometimes into a humble, curious, and compassionate human being. It is not known if philosophy classes help trigger one transformation or the other. In rare cases, Mr. Baseball Cap’s sense of grievance grows and festers, especially if he does not accomplish anything in his (not) short (enough), brutish life. He grows more incurious and holds a barely suppressed rage against a world to which he has never been adequate. After years and years of increasingly inflicting his misery on his family and fellow employees, he assumes the Presidency of these United States in the year 2,000 C.E.

Justin said...

I have a new one this semester: "Mr. Constitutionally Unable to Step Outside His Own Perspective" despite all attempts by myself and nearly every other class member to help him understand a point we're discussing. If it's different from his own experience or does not immediately and transparently correspond with his preconception, he cannot--rather, he refuses--to understand.

To wit: Gretchen in Faust cannot have drowned her baby for any justifiable reason (nor can the drowning be a symbol of her utter degradation before her eventual salvation)--she knew what she was getting into when she decided to have sex with Faust, so she deserves whatever she gets (and so, apparently, does her infant).

Love the list, by the way!