In Which I Grumble…

My students rock. Usually.

Even though 15 years separates my world from theirs, I still readily relate to them. College was my first real venture into figuring out who I was and who I wanted to be. Each experience crackled with intensity… every moment seemed somehow significant. I see that same passion in most of my students. I gravitate toward it. I try to mirror their enthusiasm, albeit my enthusiasm is for writing and theirs is for, well, living. My perspective on life as a journey makes me more of a co-traveler than an authority figure, which works pretty darn well, if I do say so myself.

Except when I get fed up.

Next week is conference week with my students. I will spend 20 minutes with each of them. I have 88 students. Go on. Do the math. That is over 29 hours of conferencing next week. Even though conferences completely drain me, I look forward this one-on-one time with my students, to volley ideas and to collaborate on their work. This passes as fun for me (I know I am lame, but see above: My students rock).

Back to the Lashout of 2009: One of my students complained that none of the remaining conference times were times that he was on campus. So sad. That looks like an extra trip to school for him. Then he said, “Why would I want to drive 30 minutes for a 20 minute conference?”

Oh no. No sir, you did not. You did NOT just tell me that my time is not as valuable as your time. So, I told him to skip the conference… then I could have back that 20 minutes of my life, and he could go on with his day. He piped up again. Fuming, I was fuming. And, in the middle of the classroom buzzing with 18 year olds working on group projects, I told him he was really pissing me off and he needed to stop right then. And I meant it. RIGHT THEN.

I am willing to go to great lengths to make sure my students learn something, to help build their self-confidence, to develop their lackluster writing skills. And I don’t expect them to name their firstborn after me or even to bake me cupcakes on the last day of school (although that would be nice). But I do expect to be respected. And in no way is it wise for them to imply that their time is more valuable than mine.

I may seem small and friendly, but so does a chihuahua, right before it clamps down on your hand. That’s all I am saying.

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One Comment on “In Which I Grumble…”

  1. Kellogg Says:

    I’ve said it before, but: you are a saint. I’d drown days before you hit your threshold.

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