Monday, September 22, 2014

"Oooh My Head." A Speedy Rant From Jeff in (Not That) Jamaica.

I have two sisters in class who sit at the back of the room. They are Irish twins, but act as if they share a brain (a small one). But they have their own phones and are doing that selfie thing before and after class, sometimes with me and the whiteboard in the background. (I had to ask them to stop posting to Instatweet during class on the first day.)

They are Internet celebrities. I mean it. There's an article on our college's newspaper about them. They murder cover versions of bad songs, talk styling, shopping, etc. They are annoying about 100X more than what annoying used to be.

In class last week I was doing (if I may say so) a terrific job of leading us all through some important new concepts for our next set of unit readings and projects. I was writing on the board, walking among them, getting some hard-won responses from some students who were willing to play along.

As I returned to the front, I spied the sisters in the back row, both with their phones to their faces.

"Marissa," I said, although I still don't know which is Marissa and which is Marisol, "what do you think of all of that?"

She put her phone down, looked at me, looked at her sister, did the eyeroll, and then said, "Ooooh my head."


  1. I had an Internet celebrity once. It was murderous. I was asked to sign a "release" form for any video or photos that were shot in my classroom. It was a form a lawyer had prepared and the student's father delivered it to my department chair.

    In the space marked with a yellow arrow post-it for my signature, I wrote, "No thank you."

    1. I don't know whether to celebrate or weep over the fact that there's already a section in my syllabi which I could cite should I ever face this situation (which I'm pretty sure I wouldn't, since my chair would run interference with dad rather than passing on the darn thing). A few semesters back, after a spate of students posting cellphone videos of proffies and fellow students having breakdowns in class, I added some language forbidding recording class activities without permission (permission available during conferences and as a disability accommodation), and/or posting said recordings to the internet. I don't have any illusion that this notice will keep my class off reddit should anything dramatic happen, but it should facilitate takedown notices and/or lawsuits, and it will definitely protect me from internet celebrities and reality TV stars.

    2. Didn't you give your consent by doing that? It is legally permission to sign a consent form with an illegible signature, or even an X, so that your making any mark at all on the paper can and probably will be construed as a signature.


      (Q) What's this? X X X

      (A) Three modern students co-signing a loan.

  2. Why are you stopping them from achieving greatness?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. At this point, I think you should just be grateful that they have progressed to the point of being able to name body parts. Next, they'll be able to identify individual colors!

  6. I'm sure they've now coined that term and will be vapidly saying it online in the same way that Paris Hilton popularized: "That's hot." You're a celebrity-by-proxy now. Wow.

    And I'm sorry!

  7. Stuff like that makes me glad I quit teaching when I did.