Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How About Some RYS-Style, Old School Smackdown? Are You In?

The academic year has just begun, but already I'm fantasizing about margaritas and cabana boys. Here are five reasons why:

1. Sisyphus Sam. I don't know what I did in a previous life to deserve you, Sam, but you haunt me like yesterday's cafeteria tuna salad. During the first semester in which you failed my developmental writing course, you loudly expressed your displeasure with my teaching, often demanding that I focus my sole attention on you when you arrived 40 minutes late for class. At the start of the second semester in which you failed my developmental writing course, you loudly expressed your displeasure at finding me in front of the classroom – after arriving late, and I believe the phrase was, "Awww, sheeeeit!" – after having added the course at the last minute of drop-add.

Last week you gifted me with your presence yet again, well after the term had begun, and were unpleasantly surprised to find me teaching the class. Again. I took you aside and asked you if you might not do better in someone else's class as we were never really a good fit. (By "good fit," I meant, of course, that your habit of rarely coming to class and/or turning in work conflicted with my habit of holding you accountable. And by "someone else's class," I meant one of any number of developmental classes lower than this one, all of which I'd recommended to you before.)

You didn't rant at me this time and beat a hasty retreat toward academic counseling. Third time charming?

2. Hip Hop Hayden. On the first day of classes, when I asked you what you preferred to be called, you said, "Sanchez. As in Dirty Sanchez." When I took you into the hallway to explain to you – in clinical detail – that I know exactly what a "Dirty Sanchez" means in the parlance of the street, you loped back into the classroom, suitably chagrined. I still had to ask you to pull up your pants, which were so far down below your ass that everyone could see the outline of your nutsack through your thin boxers.

Today, when you arrived late, you greeted me with a loud, "What up, Dawg?" Never mind that I'm supposed to be the dog in this scenario (with apologies to Nora Ephron), or that I was actually in the midst of teaching the class. Without interrupting my instruction, I responded with the ASL sign for "word" – which you, of course, didn't know – and you reacted as though I had somehow disrespected you and your entire family.

Picking your teeth in class and repeatedly wandering in and out of the room during every class period to text your posse also wins you no points.

3. Keener Kathleen. You are a bright young woman in a mostly delightful class of bright people; however, no electronic devices means no electronic devices. That means that taking out your cell phone during an ice breaker activity to look up the capital of Canada is verboten. (Never mind that you and the rest of your classmates made it to what passes for adulthood in the U.S. without knowing the capital of Canada.) You seemed to think that you were going to get superkeenerbrowniepoints for showing me your cell phone savvy. No means no. Looking up answers also defeats the purpose of the fucking exercise, 'k?

4. Grade Grubbing Gordon. You are Keener Kathleen's bright classmate. You also failed to turn in the second homework assignment, worth a measly 10 or so points out of the gazillion you potentially may earn this semester. I don't take late work. I explained that this lapse wouldn't hurt you if you don't make a habit of it. I explained this several times between last we met and, well, today. Take a deep breath, find your happy place, stop emailing me, and learn to pick your battles.

5. Ezra Excuses. The computer ate your homework? And you left your folder at home last week? And you missed the first day of class because you didn't know that classes began midweek? And the bookstore is out of the textbook? Did you really think I wouldn't call the bookstore to check on the availability of the textbook? Do you really think that I am that stupid? No – don't answer that, but do answer me this: Has this ever worked for you before?


  1. God damn do I love me a good smackdown. It's like that first sip of coffee in the morning.

    A coffee doctored with equal parts Irish cream and schadenfreude.

  2. LOVE it, Greta... smackdown is what brought me into the fold....and I have a Keener like Kathleen right now....

  3. Aaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwww yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! Love me somma dat old skool, dawg!!!

  4. My God, Greta! A Dirty Sanchez! YUUUUCCCCKKKK. I did not know that term and I think I could have lived my whole life not knowing it (although it will certainly help if I ever have a student like Hip Hop Hayden.

    Many moons ago, I had a couple of students in a row introduce me to their boyfriends, saying something along the lines of "This is my Bo." After the third "Bo" I said "Wow, I have so many students going out with guys named 'Bo.'" When the student said nothing but passed her "Bo" a look, I knew I was missing something.


  5. This is my Bo.

    Um, Bella, that's a throwback to a more innocent era. I think. It used to be spelled "beau."

    Urban dictionary says it means "buddy." But folks have been dropping the gender-specific bits from "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" for some time now.

  6. But now pronounced 'Boo', as in the super-annoying 'My Boo' song.


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