Monday, February 09, 2015

better or worse...

Well, Class1 (which is how I will refer to this group from here on out) was better than I hoped today. Maybe they were just really freaked out by having a class in a different department and it took them a while to settle down. Or maybe they realized I DO have a brain in my head and are starting to settle down.

But, Class2.....there's a guy in there who comes in for the first five minutes, waits 'til I take attendance, then leaves. This is the second time in a row it has happened. The stupid thing is this is a small, small class....and the door out is right next to where I stand, so it's flippin' obvious. I tell people I will excuse them if there is a good reason (I've had people have emergencies come up, or feel a relapse of food poisoning coming on, or have to leave early for a doctor's appointment, and I can be cool with that if I know.) But this person just gets up and leaves and I very much get the sense he doesn't want to stay, so he's leaving. And if he thinks I'm counting him present....well, he has another think coming. I just cross off the "check mark" for his attendance.

And for that matter, why show up for just the first five minutes if there's some reason you will have to miss the rest of class? Just e-mail me and ask for an excused absence!

I may need to stop him and say something, but I hate doing that - it breaks the flow, it puts him on the spot (what if he is sick?) and I have a hard time with confrontation anyway. But I may have to, I've been getting puzzled looks from the other students.

Students have changed in the 15 years I've been teaching. Oh, there have always been difficult people, but it seems like there is a greater proportion now of students who have "attitudes" or who are difficult in some way. (I don't *think* it's that I'm becoming more crochety....). There are more folks who can be super-demanding, or who won't put up with something (a topic, a technique, a project) that "bores" them.

The sad thing is: adult life is about learning to cope with having to do boring things. I go to meetings all the time I'd rather not be at, sometimes they are ones that there is absolutely nothing relevant to me....but I'm expected to be there, so I'm there. I wonder sometimes if we're seeing a critical mass of people refusing to 'grow up' in some way. (And as I've said before: this makes me crazy because I get on myself for watching cartoons or making crocheted Ponies or reading YA lit because it's not "grown up" and I've even had people imply that I'm not a for-real grown-up because I failed to marry and bear children.....but I'm shouldering my responsibilities (and then some, some days))

I don't know. Life is messy and people are strange and I need to kick myself back into a mode where I can more comfortably laugh about that (instead of being annoyed, which is what I am these days. Sometimes I wonder if it's a side effect of the Singulair I'm on - they say that mood disturbances can be a side effect - or of the metoprolol (it makes me tired, and when I'm tired, I'm less tolerant of stuff). But I can't stop taking either of those, so....)

(And I also have to admit: some things that bore some people are things I enjoy. I like data entry, for example - it feels like "doing something meaningful" but you don't have to think hard about it - not like with writing those results up for publication. And I read books that make my friends roll their eyes or puff out their cheeks....I've often told students thinking about grad school that a "high level of tolerance for boredom" is every bit as important as "smarts" for success in grad school. And some of my hobbies are things some would find boring.

Mostly what I find boring are things like going to meetings where someone is grandstanding or showing off and there's really nothing that's of import to me - or nothing I can offer in the way of constructive suggestions - but I still have to sit there.. Even worse, if there's no set time for the meeting to end. And I find things like invigilating exams boring, which is why I bring knitting....being stuck somewhere with nothing to do and no clear indication of when I can scram is what bores me the most.)

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Do you have the student's email address? If so, why not send him an email asking that he come to your office at xxx time and to discuss his class attendance issues. That way you don't have to confront him in front of his peers and yet you're serving notice that you won't tolerate his current behavior.