Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rosemary Eye-Roller Update.

One talked to the eye-roller today. One kept him after class very casually.

"I notice you sighing and rolling your eyes a lot. Is there something I'm not doing that you need? Are you sitting too far back? Can you hear me?"

He went red. "Uhhhh, it's just that, uhhhhh, like, I know all this. I'm a good writer and you're talking about essays and articles. I want to write my stories and poems."

"Sure," I said. "But that's not this class. This is straight college writing; I'm getting you ready for academic writing that will help you with advanced paper writing in your major and in upper division classes."

"Oh," he said, brightly, "Well, I'm going to be a film maker. I already won a contest when I was at [Name of impossibly fancy prep school.]"

"Great," I said. "But you're in a freshman writing class. These other 14 people need this stuff and I'm going to teach it. It breaks my spirit to hear you huffing and puffing and to see you rolling your eyes when I'm giving perfectly reasonable instructions about the class."

Red again. "You can see all that?"

"Oh yeah. It's a little room. I see everything."

He was apologetic enough, and one was eager to let it go.

"Keep it cool in here, and I promise I'll challenge you with some of the stuff we do."

One does what one can.


  1. Agree with Academaniac; congratulations on maintaining your composure and compassion, and not going for the stapler right away.

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  3. Lovely. I WISH I could see his film, though! Maybe we'd make it a vidshizzle!

  4. Brava! I'd be interested in hearing your strategies to keep him challenged. Well done on gracefully calling him on his rudeness.

  5. Well done,. Rosemary.

    I'm constantly amazed at how they react to the revelation that we can actually see what they do in class. I sometimes think that my students consider me to be a sort of television or computer screen, where they can see what I'm doing, but I can't see them. It's as if there's some sort of one-way mirror between us, in their minds.

  6. Brava! Graduates of fancy prep schools can definitely be one of the downsides of some otherwise-very-nice gigs (and 15 students in a writing class sounds like a very nice gig; I've done that, and it's a very productive, and effective, teaching environment -- and, yes, should give you the opportunity to find a way to challenge him more than he expects). I say that as a graduate of a semi-fancy prep school (challenging but not so selective that getting in was a really big deal). I've got several young relatives at such places, and though I think they're getting good educations, the degree of privilege, and, on occasion, disdain for those who didn't attend such places, is troubling to say the least. But it sounds like you've found a way to deal, gracefully but/and effectively, with some of the ill effects of such places (or maybe the kid was just an asshole to begin with. That happens, too.)

  7. One applauds Rosemary and sends best wishes for a productive semester with this dream class.

  8. I'm thinking that the process of constructing a film has many parallels to constructing a written composition, and that many habits of mind honed in one arena can transfer to the other.