Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tea Partying Good Times

Greetings Miserians.

I haven't posted in ages, and apologize for not holding up my end of the conversation. I've almost posted a few times, then didn't because I haven't wanted to relive the suckage. But I've been drinking this evening and have changed my mind. Some highlights from the past couple of terms:

1. Vice Presidential Substance put on administrative leave; college discovers that his budgeting skills nothing more than magical thinking. On the down side, it means about $30,000 less in my budget. On the plus side, no more comments about my lovely hair, eyes and skin during meetings with him, **shudder**. Someone remind me, what decade are we in?

2. Had a temporary adjunct teaching a couple of classes who was flat out loony tunes. I had a line of students out the door complaining about hir methods of instruction in Badger Baiting. During one class session, I overheard these shrill screeching noises coming from hir classroom. I snuck into the back of the class and observed: s/he was having the 'flakes dance...yes, dance...out interpretations of Badger Basketry to some kind of Klingon opera with haunted house sound effects. Or something like that. I guess I should clarify: s/he was dancing out h/ir interpretation of Badger Basketry. I later asked her how that fit into the Badger Baiting curriculum, which, I reminded hir, was what s/he had been enlisted to teach. S/he said--oh hell, never mind. There wasn't a good answer there.

Um, no. We won't be renewing that contract.

3. Had a student in a class last term whose outbursts and bizarre behavior alarmed the instructor enough that s/he contacted security on several occasions. We documented, contacted the appropriate authorities, were told that well, yes, they were familiar with this individual, but we just needed to deal with him--he's probably not dangerous. Two more of us ended up with said 'flake this term. He needs to be redirected to the course content at hand at least every five minutes. He meanders around the room. He'll vanish, then reappear. He is clearly suffering from a combo of mental disability plus PTSD, and he verifies this. But he refuses to seek assistance with our disabilities coordinators. So his disabilities do not legally exist in my mind and classroom, even though I have an administrator flake telling me to do things that are equivalent to giving this student accommodations. I have been documenting like hell, and am up to 10 single spaced pages. I am tired of this.

4. Have another student who has the reasoning ability of a five year old, due to a combo of drugs and an injury. Incapable of reading or comprehending at a college level (yay, open enrollment!). Gets pissed and disruptive when other 'flakes use college appropriate vocabulary. Thinks they are making fun of her/him. Have had to end class and call security because of violent outbursts and disruptions. 'Flake truly does not understand what documentation would be necessary to Disability Services, nor what that means. I asked admin why someone at the gatekeeping end of things let this poor 'flake register for classes. I said we should refund her/his tuition money. Am told that because s/he wants to learn, must deal. I offered to personally refund tuition monies if they will just get her/his ass out of here. Was asked to be, how do you say, "compassionate."

5. Today (yeah, I know--don't check school email on a holiday weekend) got an email from a flake in another class bitching that her poor grades are because I don't give out review sheets and copies of my lecture notes and my slides. Never mind that there are two single spaced pages in my syllabus that detail how to study for the class. Never mind that I spent most of a class giving them tips on how to take notes about this subject. Never mind that I point out regularly in class that "it would be really good for you to remember this point and that one."

Claims I don't tell them critical information, and she has to go home and teach herself, and my classes are three times haaaaaaaarder than the ones in her maaaaaaajor and she has to woooooork at a job, too. Yeah, reading is haaaaaaaaaaard. So is thinking and writing and lectures in which the prof doesn't read the tea partying textbook and Powerpoint lectures to you, and you have to discern things and decide what to write down. And then the tea partying prof has the gall to expect you to remember things from your reading AND things from class for a quiz? Oh the humanity.

Oh, and those other flakes? The ones who manage to get nearly perfect scores on the quizzes? Well, they're obviously my favs and I send them coded information.

6. Had a paper due in Gerbil Theology. The deal was, if 'flakes turned in their papers by a first date, I would go over them, give them comments, and they could correct them and resubmit. If they chose not to take advantage of this, I still allowed them to turn in their work to the plagiarism check program, double check how their use of source material held up, and revise and resubmit before the deadline. I told them that if the plagiarism check program showed 8% or higher matches, they really needed to critically recheck everything, write their own damned paper, and resubmit.

One tender young 'flake submitted a paper that came in as over 40% matching (this is above and beyond quotes and short matches). I took said flake aside and said that there was no way the paper was going to pass at that point, and the 'flake had time to rewrite the paper and resubmit in order to have a shot at improving her/his grade. 'Flake was ever so grateful for the chance. Revised and resubmitted, and greatly improved on the paper. Now 55% matches other sources. I'm guessing the flake thinks this adds up to 98% total for the win.

14 more days...14 more days...14 more days...


  1. Definitely misery. Love the graphic, though!

    I don't know why more students don't complain about disruptive colleagues to administrators. Yes, accomodation may be necessary, and I'm all for compassion, but routinely interfering with classroom activities without a documented disability or coherent plan to deal with the situtation takes a great deal from the value of the class for the other students.

    At least it would if they cared much....

    1. My other students have been awesome. A couple help ride herd on him, gentley redirecting so he doesn't blow up (he's got some major anger issues, too). There's a warped esprit de corps that has bonded us over this.

  2. That's some pretty high octane misery, Annie. Glad you're close to the end.

    And I, too, love the graphic (though I'm not sure tea is quite strong enough a drink to combat the misery you've described above).

    1. Trust me, CC, I've been drinking much stronger stuff for dinner...

  3. #4. One of the few things China gets right is making students prove a certain level of intelligence via testing to be eligible to go to college. Everyone else gets to work in a factory. My mouth waters just thinking of lectures with 10 people and everyone being able to find their ass with both hands and a flashlight.

    1. Exactly! I also dream of what a class like that could accomplish.

      In these parts, unemployment is still double-digit and social services have been hacked to the bone. I fear we're turning into a type of day care for the displaced.

    2. Those same Chinese students were educated using the stuff the duck method. If you're expecting them to make serious contributions to class discussion, you may be disappointed.

      Russian students, on the other hand... probably because they've been raised on Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Gogol.

  4. At my SLAC, providing people with accommodation without receiving authorization from DSS would be considered illegal.

    Our Dean of Students would have expelled these individuals by now.

    1. My division dean is all for expulsion. It's the VPres in charge of Snowflake Happiness who makes the final call, and also seems clueless about the law.

  5. "I fear we're turning into a type of day care for the displaced."

    ...and under-socialized.

  6. Zoiks, Annie. That's a whole lotta mizry right there.

    If you want tea with a kick, try Firefly Sweet Tea vodka. It makes for some really wicked Arnold Palmers.


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