Thursday, September 5, 2013

If It's Thursday, I Must Be Tingling.

I've had one meeting
with my freshman class
so far.

I covered the syllabus,
some expectations,
some kind words of hope.

I mentioned that I'd
been teaching the class
for 30 plus years.

I told them I welcomed
the new things we would learn together,
the things we could accomplish,

as long as they'd try,
put their shoulder to the
grindstone, nose to wheel, la di da.

Got an email tonight
from a student who I vaguely remember,
sullen, staring at his hands in class.

"I can already tell you have
an old fashion approach.
Fresh students need more flexability

then you can give. You're generation
is why American education is failing.
I can all ready tell that you will

not understand the new ideas I have,
and that you will cripple my chances
to succeed, stop me from winning!

I have not decided if I will stay in the class,
but I wanted you to know
what I thought of you so far."

I spent 90 seconds
pondering my place in the universe,
and then another 90 more on what dinner might be.

Then replied to my student,
"It doesn't sound at all like I'm going to be
a good fit for you.

I'm attaching information that will help
you drop the class.
This way we both win."


  1. Is it possible, Herr Tingle, that the student has some mental issues. I mean, that sort of email after the first week makes it sound like he has an agenda or a disorder.

  2. What a fine answer to flakemail!

    I would be incapable of this for many reasons, but mainly...I decided long ago that any emotion spent on dealing with feedback from individual students, good or bad, is an emotion misspent. In the long run, it matters not a whit; not to them and not to me.

  3. That last line is the money shot. Based on the email he sent, it'll stick in his craw.

  4. Good for you, Dick. Anytime I get a student like this, I don't hesitate to tell them explicitly where to go: to a section taught by another instructor, of course.

    1. P.S. If I'd gotten that message, I'd have also recommended to the student that if success is what's desired, the student should do more work for a real boss in the real world. The experience should be valuable!

  5. I desperately want to know what you ended up having for dinner.

    1. Preferably something microwaved, like this student deserves to be. YAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!...POP!

  6. When last I received an email like that, and I also advised the student withdraw from the course, she responded that she had wanted me to reassure her that we would be compatible. I responded that if she felt that way from a single meeting with me, we were not going to be compatible because I do not go about reassuring people who are manipulative.

  7. Jehosaphat.

    I feel so sorry for whoever ends up with this jerk going forward, because anyone who has the stones to write something like that is going to be a bonafide gen-u-wine pain in the ass. For everyone.

  8. Bravo, sir. Bravo! (But I do have some of the same feeling as BurntChrome, and as I had in response to Hiram's account of a confrontation with a student a week or so ago: I hope whoever gets him next can manage him -- and has the institutional authority to manage him -- as well as you did).

    1. Ah yes, authority. No doubt the institution will expect the little darling to be managed but won't give hir prof the authority to do so.

      Again, my mantra: If you need to be managed then maybe you need to leave.