Thursday, August 30, 2012

Face in the Crowd

Vignette 1

The class is over. I'm packing up my things, and the students are filing out. As I put my notes and other materials into my bag, I see out of the corner of my eye a hovering, expectant figure in short shorts and a tank top, clasping her bag over her chest.

I give her a smile and say, "Hi, what can I do for you?"

"I'm the one who sent you the email."

Honey, I have 300 students, and I've received almost 30 emails just today. I'm going to need a little more information than that.

Vignette 2

I spent a good 15 minutes in the first class talking about the required text. I held it up for them to see, more than once; I explained why I had chosen it, and why I thought it was a good fit for this class; I told them that it was available in the campus bookstore; I told them that it would appear under our course number on the shelf; and I told them that the author, title, and ISBN were listed on the course website.

Six hours later, I got the following email from a student who was sitting in the second row for the whole time:
Dear Professor,

Hi, I want to know what books should I need to buy for your HAM 100 class. Thanks!

On a positive note, the first week is almost over.


  1. Danger, Will Robinson, danger! Narcissism alert!

    On a positive note, the first week is almost over.

  2. Vignette #1 happens to me daily.

  3. In a similar vein I told my students repeatedly, and via email and via LMS that there was a copy of the textbook in the library as I am a big meany and have an assignment due the first week (by the way bitches, some of us have been teaching for two weeks- it don't get no better). Anyway, as I am returning the graded assignment. Little chippy asks me, no I'm sorry TELLS me "I didn't have my book last week so I could not be expected to do the assignment." Yes, honey I can "expect" that you will do the work when assigned regardless of the whims of Amazon or the postal service. See Big Meany.

  4. Her first words, "I'm the one...," gave me a clue of entitlement there.

    My first day was pretty good! They Didn't flinch at all when I informed them of no electronic equipment in class, unless it was a laptop for notes, that I could see. I think a lot of departments at our CC have adopted that stance. Did the "Vanna White" with the text, and everyone was cool!

  5. Both sound all too familiar. It's even more fun when they want to add "my class"? As if I only had one. That would be heavenly.

    Frod is right; the underlying issue is narcissism. The class they're in is my only class (or at least the only one I should think/care about); the paper they wrote is the one I should, of course, have graded the moment it hit the LMS (at 3 a.m. -- 3 hours past the midnight deadline). Between the texting, the earbuds, and the psychological effects of helicopter parenting, some of our students seem to move through the world like 2-year-olds, utterly caught up in their own thoughts, and shocked by any indication that they are not the center of the world. Actually, I get really few of those, but enough to be annoying. And driving (or even walking on the sidewalk) is getting scary; some of them really seem to think that the whole world will just walk/drive around them, with no effort on their part. So, yes, when they need the information (and only when) you should be on hand to give it to them.

    1. My spouse has started letting them run into hir when they take up the entire sidewalk/aisle, and also running into them when we are walking close to the wall/side and they have an entire empty area to move into yet refuse.

      They always look so shocked.


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