Sunday, August 22, 2010

What an Introduction, Idiot...

The first day of classes I always do a little introduction exercise. Not because I particularly want to know anything about these people -- I probably won't see them after two or three weeks anyway and most of those that I will I won't want to. So why? To fill time and make it look like I give a flying fuck about them as people, of course.

Going down the roster, I get mostly what I expect.

"I'm ____ and I have two brothers. Does that count as two things about myself?"

Well, no, not really. I just said your name so that doesn't count, dummy. Nor does saying you have two brothers. There may be two of them but that's only one factoid. Try again.

There are some mildly interesting things (a 1/2 Jamaican who doesn't like Jamaican food or anything "not American," a Nigerian, people that want to be called random names that aren't anything like their actual names, etc) but nothing way out of the ordinary. Then I read off the last name on the roster.

A blonde boy in his mid twenties leans back, head against the wall and blurts out rather proudly, "I'm Rob and you will probably hate me in three weeks" True... "because I'm a troublemaker." ...Ugh. Fuck. Before I can stop him, he mentions the fact that he's taken this class three times and a few other things. Stoner girl yells out, "Oooooh, this'll be great to watch all semester. Some entertainment!" Of course, the most coherent and well put together thought she's managed all class period but not helpful.

I get them all back in line and go ahead with the rest of the day (going through the syllabus and emphasizing what I know will be issues later on, etc. The usual). After I let them out, they scatter into the wind like dandelion heads with one exception -- Rob comes up to me and starts trying to explain himself.

"Y'see, the first class was almost all art majors and I'm horrible at art. The teacher turned it into art class and I got a D. And the last guy, he didn't agree with my argument so he failed me. You know he actually wrote 'This paper is crap. If I didn't have to I wouldn't have finished this.' on my paper!?" I probably would have wanted to do that too but I know that didn't happen.

He wanted to go on (and it would have been mildly interesting to how exactly he was going to continue to blame others for his obvious deficiencies) but I stopped him and had a little talk about learning from his mistakes and how I expected him to act now that he was in my class.

Once I got back to my department, I asked my completely useless boss to look him up for me.

"It sounds like you did the right thing in that situation"
I know...
"Sometimes we get some severely disturbed students in our classes"
...WTF? He's not "disturbed," he's just immature and doesn't want to take responsibility for his own shit...
and though he hasn't done anything that we can pull him for yet, I'll see what [less useless boss] says."
...Okay. Whatever.

I guess they put their heads together, looked him up, and realized he's taken the class three times before (which I told them...). As our department has a three strikes and you're out policy, he'll be pulled from the class on those grounds. Just maybe not in time for Tuesday's class.

This semester just keeps getting worse and worse. What the hell else can go wrong at this point?


  1. As I general rule, I try not to ask what else can go wrong or how things can get worse -- I'm afraid I'll find out!

    The posts today do really make me look forward to my semester starting (she says sarcastically while holding her breath and thanking God that there is still one week until Armageddon).

  2. Well, certainly other things could go wrong. You could shit yourself because you forgot to go to the bathroom.

  3. LOL@Stella!

    I want to know, in this advanced digital golden age (stop laughing), why almost every single school I have ever worked at cannot develop a proper registration software that can check for and identify the following:

    Course overlaps (Most student can barely mono-locate, let alone bi-locate!)
    Course overloads (No, you may not register for 21 credits!)
    Prerequisites! (Mandatory! Fs don't count!!!)
    Block non-majors when majors have priority
    Block re-registration after too many failures
    Block registration from low GPAs (Seniors with under a 1.0 anyone?)

    I mean, it's been a couple decades since I had Programming in Basic, but don't most programming languages have If/Then statements?

  4. Meanest:
    Our registrar's office has outright said that they do not look to see if the students had the necessary prerequisites to get into classes and then turned to our director and said "You want us to do that? I suppose we could..." Last semester I had a student who had actually taken the test to see which course he should register for -- it showed he should go into the remedial course, he clicked on the regular intro course instead, and there he stayed until he accepted he probably wasn't ready for it and dropped.

    Normally I follow the same rule, but this semester has just been awful in terms of teaching. I didn't get the syllabus until two days before classes started, nobody knew what they were teaching until four days out, I can't change anything on the syllabus because a new prof took over this level of the department and wants us all to teach "exactly the same." Said syllabus's policies are nothing at all like what I like/what works in my courses and there is a daily schedule that is completely screwed up. She's also been in charge of the remedial courses so she is basically wanting us to coddle them all (This is the last required course of the department which makes that all sorts of wrong).

    In other words, I am completely dreading everything about my life until mid December. It's gonna be a fun couple of months.

  5. Why is it that the Uni I work for, which is a huge, medical-center-based commuter school with NO sports teams worth shit, seems to have decent registration software? Usually I read things on here that make me weep with envy. Now I'm kinda proud that our computer platform (1) won't let you register without all the pre-reqs AND a C or better grade (you pretty much have to get an add form signed in blood by the Dean to get into a class you don't "qualify" for), (2) allows preferential registration based on year (so grad students get the pick while the freshmen are SOL), (3) will not let undergrads register for more than a full load without permission of an advisor AND the professor (although grads can register for up to 99 hours, shit you not), and (4) nearly shits itself if you try to register for overlapping classes (seriously - I mistakenly did that once and the system booted me out completely, after telling me I'd performed an "illegal action"). So, the education sucks. The admin sucks. Even IT sucks. But the registrar's office will pwn your ass. WTF?!?

  6. Holy crap! How can anyone be expected to work like that?!?! No wonder you sound exasperated already :( I can't imagine trying to function with such little/no notice or control. I sort of agree with BPB. Often I've read posts and thought about how fucked up my university is. But you and some other posters have made me realize that I don't have it so bad. *I* decide what courses I'm teaching; *I* decide when; *I* design the courses to my pleasing; *I* write the syllabi and policies; *I* select the texts. I think I'd shoot myself otherwise.

    You have my sympathy, May. I'll drink an extra glass or two of wine in your honor this evening.

  7. @ Midwest Mae
    It's all about the money....the school wants the cash and idiotboy is willing to play the game because he's doing it on somebody else's dime. If it was his money, he would be one of those annoying super keeners.

    @ Bipolar Beth:
    Somebody in registrar's made a great deal of fuss to get the computer program to do what they wanted....strange but true, there are people in acadamia outside of the professorate who really care about their jobs and don't half-arse it. Case in point: I attended a Californian community college where for many years (until the budgets shrank) the librarians made available a number of left-wing magazines, and during the Vietnam War period they had imported books from Maoist China, the Pathet Lao press, and North Vietnam all of which were still in the stacks. All this in a very right-wing area, I might add.

  8. Strelnikov:
    Only one or two seem to even possibly be super keeners and none of them seem very keen at all. Thursday's classes were full of blank, beady eyes (When they weren't chatting it up with each other. Might have to go to high school style assigned seating...*sigh*).

  9. May! Not, HIGH school...LAW school!

    I once considered assigned seating and that's the excuse you need use. Make them (and any pissy colleagues) think you're going ultra-professional (even if we all know you're thinking "juvenile").


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.