After four years of toil teaching Basic Comp in my local community college, I have learned vastly more than my students. Most teachers have. We know their natures, their tendencies, their excuses, their foibles. Like you, I see bullshit coming a mile away. Most of us can usually (though not always) tell who is going to succeed and fail based on early observation of their actions. And what is the main indicator of success of failure in college and indeed life in general? FOLLOWING FUCKING DIRECTIONS.
As I was walking through the park after class the other evening, ranting to myself about my students, it all became clear: Nearly all of us are told, from the age we can communicate, what steps to follow in order to live a “good” life. From parents, teachers, PSA’s on TV, church, caring friends, even the Surgeon General and Nancy Reagan, we have all been WARNED. We were told a million times, during most of our lifespan, an immense host of wise, time-tested bits of advice that were intended to make our lives fruitful, happy, and comfortable—all sorts of strategies for living that were intended to help us achieve our life goals:
Don’t smoke. Don’t do drugs. Wear a helmet on a motorcycle or bike. Don’t commit crimes. Do your homework. Don’t stick a fork in an electrical outlet. Don’t carry scissors pointing toward you. Don’t run around the pool. Beware of trampolines. Don’t put food in your nose and ears. Don’t have a child when you’re 12. Be on time for class. Stay in school. Be considerate of others. Eat right. Exercise. Dress decently. Get good grades. Graduate from high school. Don’t be a whore. Work hard. Drive carefully. Get a good job. Be responsible for your actions.
And yet, given a lifetime of wise directions, many people (like my snowflakes) FAIL TO FOLLOW THEM. In my classes, I’ve had students who are felons, young, unwed mothers by the score, former and current druggies and burnouts, absurdly nerdy video game addicts with no friends, countless irresponsible students who can’t turn in their work, and generally just roster after roster comprised of about 70% fuckups.
So on I walked, and do you know what I concluded? Some of you will hate me for saying it: The fuckups were all warned, for their entire lives, how to live and not live, and they never listened. SO FUCK THEM ALL. I have no sympathy for them, and I sure as hell won’t go out of my way for them, especially when there are still some good students who DO follow directions and are dead serious about their educations. Teachers have limited amounts of time and energy. Should we spend it—in futility—on the least likely to succeed? Hell no.
Yes, some had all sorts of negative messages and psychosocial disadvantages competing with the messages of wisdom. But I don’t care. If they can’t or won’t FOLLOW DIRECTIONS that are insistently and constantly repeated to them, year after year, then Darwin will win the day, as he should. These fuckups DESERVE to be where they end up, because it’s the Law of Nature. Social stratification exists for a REASON, just like oil and water naturally separate. Survival of the Fittest, Natural Selection, whatever you want to call it, will put them right where they belong—flipping my delicious burger at Carl’s Jr., or greeting me as I enter Wal-Mart.
No cookies for them. No cookies for ANY of them…