I think I do. Maybe for the first time in a really long time.
Usually I'm great at not caring. They annoy me, yes. But generally, I "nothing" them. I don't let 'em get under my skin. I spend way too much time using lotion to keep it silky smooth. ; )
But I have this one student... I've written about her before. She is "terrified" of me because I'm so intimidating (I'm not. I'm 5'1" and look like a student unless I dress in a business suit. I'm pretty funny and generally easygoing and probably overnurturing in general. What's scary about me to her is that I don't give her good grades). She purposely tries to nettle me. This... dislike... has been building up over the past few semesters. Yes! She keeps taking me! Even though she tells me she dislikes me! And that I'm the only professor ever who's thought she wasn't brilliant and an ace student! (There's just been some sort of mistake on her transcript, which looks as though it's filled with slipshod grading by professors who erroneously see her the same way I do). I don't know why she keeps coming back for more of my terrible teaching. She must be a masochist (and/or a sadist).
I had my students do midsemester evals - anonymous, of course. She could've ripped into me and I'd have guessed (but not known!) which one was hers. But this was not to be her subtle and diabolical plan. Instead, she turned it in a week late, directly into my hand, with a shy little smile. "Here," she said, offering it to me as though it were a rare treat. I took it from her with heavily concealed reticence, much like a loving cat-owner might treat their feline's offering of a dead mouse.
After she left, I looked at it. It was filled with 1's and 2's (on a scale from 1 - 7). She even gave me comments! How nice!
"I don't understand why you put quotes up at the beginning of lectures. They're stupid and pointless."
"It's good that you use PowerPoint slides" (I beamed here at her lavish praise and validation) "but your lecture always covers much more than what's on your slides, and then I have to listen to you talk."
"Your tests are unfair. I study a lot but never do well on them. That means the fault lies with you."
The only thing she didn't do is make fun of my hair or shoes. Which was very wise of her. Those things, I kill for. And the above aren't made-up - they're just better-spelled paraphrasings.
In the meantime, I felt a visceral response to her in class today that I haven't felt about a student maybe ever. It went a little something like this:
"Oh, look! It's super-whiny crybaby Sally! Look at her stupid blubbery lips and vacant eyes! I wish I could flying elbow drop you and watch the dumb look on your face as I make you swallow your teeth!"
And then I realized I was in trouble. I've never wanted to see a student get eaten by a dinosaur so badly. I think I probably overcompensate in the opposite direction when grading her papers, if anything - meaning she gets D-pluses she doesn't really deserve instead of D-minuses - but still. Have you ever experienced actual, genuine, straight-up DISLIKE like this? What do you do? What can you do? I don't like feeling this way. Do you think it would go away if she got eaten by a dinosaur? I do.
PS - it's a good thing I'm cute and tiny, isn't it? Or maybe I would be intimidating.