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11 May 2010 @ 11:03 pm
When I am awake sometimes I hate the monsters I teach. I could provide multiple horror stories from this semester, but I'm just going with one because it pisses me off at this particular moment in time. 

Precious is on the football team, which is why he is at school at all. I have had student athletes in my classes before and generally, they are hard workers, if not the brightest. I find that they do know what it means to work hard and they generally take initiative. Not this kid. He walks into my class at least 10 minutes late most sessions, has turned in every assignment late, he does not do the readings, and TEXTS ON HIS BLACKBERRY DURING MY CLASS. Since the class is highly based on in-class peer review (not my choice), and since I pair them in advance, when Precious doesn't do his work, he sits there staring out the window or scratching his balls for the entire time while his peer reviewer also now has the opportunity to stare out the window and scratch his/her crotch for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.

I get that I'm boring. In fact, the class I teach bores me to tears, although I try to make it as interesting as I can. But I've taught this class four times and it is basic writing. It is a required course for those who got less than a 3 on the AP test or the equivalent on the placement test, so if they do have to take this class they have a hunch that they are surrounded by equally non-impressive writers for a class that is going to teach rudimentary skills.

At this point I teach the class in my sleep, which is A-ok because they take my class in their sleep.

Back to Precious. Precious drives me nuts because when he actually talks, he says interesting things, so I know he's not dumb. He's just totally checked out and thinks he has a free pass because he can kick a football thiiiiiiiiiiiiiis long.

Precious did not show up for the final requirement (again, required by the program, not my choice) which is a final conference. Since I think the assignment is pointless and I really don't want to spend my time conferencing with 24 kids who don't want to be there to find out what they think they learned over the semester (which seems to be the main objective of the assignment), I tell them that i will hold an all day drop in session in my office. All they have to do is stop by, drop in and drop off a final reflection letter to me. 2 pages. Double spaced. That's it.

Precious does not show up. I EMAIL HIM TO REMIND HIM TO TURN IN HIS REFLECTION, LIKE I AM SOME SORT OF BRITISH NANNY WITH AN UMBRELLA AND THE MAGICAL ABILITY TO TIDY UP AFTER HIM USING ONLY A SONG AND SOME FANCY CAMERAWORK BY DISNEY. No response, even though I tell him that I will accept the assignment late, taking 10% off each day, until Friday. Because I want to pass him. Because I don't want to waste my time filling out paperwork, or have to answer to the program later, after I leave or somehow become accountable for Precious getting kicked off the football team by his coach. Because it takes me more time to have to go to campus, file a fail form, and possibly deal with this after I leave than to get his ass to pass my class. And finally, also because I know my program will not stand behind me if he goes to complain that there is some loophole in my syllabus or some lack of clarity (despite EVERYONE ELSE IN THE CLASS GOT IT) about the requirement and the mistake is somehow my fault and then my teaching comes under scrutiny.

And you know what? Guess what I am going to do tomorrow? I am going  to find his cell phone number and call him to follow up and to make sure he gets the message, like I am his mommy and he forgot his lunch at home, and oops he needs to remember or else he'll go hungry!

And you know what? Precious isn't even the worst I've had this semester! I'll have to write about a certain special snowflake when I have some serious time on my hands. I can't stand this shit. Seriously. Balls. Pure balls.

ETA: Yes, I get it. I am part of the problem.

Clare Littlebit Blueambtiondata on May 12th, 2010 04:36 am (UTC)
Ugh. I've had to deal with many different kinds of problem students this semester, but at a community college, I'm grateful that (entitled) athletes aren't one of them!

I hope he gets off his ass and gets this paper to you immediately! Grr.
rokikurama on May 12th, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)
(hug) Motivation issues have to be the worst. I like even my art workshop students who try to piss me off making penis monsters out of clay better than that kind of attitude.

(HUG) He better get himself there to turn the thing in, or maybe you'll have to call him at 3 AM...
shannon_f_rshannon_f_r on May 12th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
I know it's more trouble, but maybe it's better to go through the hassle of "letting" him fail. It's starting to sound like tracking the asshole down is more trouble than filling out some paperwork, or going through the hassle of explaining your decision to the department. Of course, then you run the risk that he'll end up in your class again. But I don't see how he's going to be able to find a loophole if you've emailed him repeatedly about turning in the assignment. You've got a paper trail.

Maybe there are other students worse than athletes, but athletes really do bring their own savor of arrogance and general fuckupery, don't they?
debsinenglishdebsinenglish on May 12th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
One voicemail on said student's cell phone, two phone calls to his coach, a lengthy conversation with the academic director for student athletics, and a meticulous documentation process recording said endeavors later, I concur that you are, indeed correct. I should have just filed a fail form and toasted it with a nice glass of scotch on the rocks.

shannon_f_rshannon_f_r on May 12th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
Ha, well, hopefully some moral and emotional satisfaction will come out of this, if nothing else. What never fails to bug the shit out of me is that these athletes always waft a little cloud of untouchability around them. Why should you have to talk to the athletic director to decide on whether a student did unsatisfactory work in your class? I bet you don't have to consult a team of experts to fail other students. But no, Precious Football Snowflake may not get to win one for the Gipper and the whole world's going to end.
debsinenglishdebsinenglish on May 13th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Brace yourself, for the world is about to end. I just failed him. And I, for one, will be going down with this ship, one hand on mouse about to click the "enter" key on the online form, the other hand full with a nice twelve year old single malt with a sherrywood finish, and the sweet sounds of a well-worn Journey tune mixed with diabolical laughter ringing in my ears.
circumfessioncircumfession on May 12th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
oh my gawd. I would have just failed him, but that's because this year has exhausted my patience, and I've never had to deal with paperwork yet. The efforts that you are putting are simply herculian. I hope the little twit figures it out--he probably will, when he's fired from his first job.
intextrovertintextrovert on May 12th, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
Ugh. This is the kind of bullshit I was looking forward to leaving behind once I stop teaching high school. You had to do way too much work tracking him down - I stop reminding my seniors about assignments after a day, maybe two, and after that, I don't care and if they fail, they fail. Nothing I hate more than babysitting and hand-holding.