Monday, March 15, 2010

A Snit

I just taught my first class of the day, and as we began to discuss our second story, no one was talking. Silence. Blank stares. So I said, "How many of you read this story?"

Three or four hands went up.

So I said,"Okay, that's it. We're done. I've already read the story. I don't need to do this."

It wasn't too much of a snit. I didn't swear at them or raise my voice. I didn't throw anything or slam any books. But I think I pursed my lips, and I think I turned a little pink.

And it's too bad, too, because the story was a great one. I think the problem was that they just didn't look at the syllabus.

But I had a snit, and I sent them packing.

And they get to evaluate me next week.

Oh joy.


Amstr said...

I did this in an argument class way back when, but I did raise my voice and handled it not so rationally. It did give me the opportunity to go back the next class period and have the class brainstorm what would have been a better response and how we could make the class work (I had really assigned way too much boring reading, so they just weren't doing any of it).

All that to say, I can totally relate!

TKW said...

Good. For. You.

They were wasting your Goddamn time! THEY are the ones paying for the education, so if they don't do the reading, they're cheating themselves. But they are also cheating YOU by not bothering to do the work. Grrrr.

You did the right thing!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Don't you hate how evaluation week coincides with the time when students start testing the limits of how much reading they can get away with not doing? Grrrr.

I imagine there are different ways to handle a situation like that, depending on the teacher/class chemistry. I'm quite sure that as an experienced teacher, you felt in your gut that this is what the students needed and would respond to at the time. So if the chemistry shifts in some fashion upon the next class meeting in response to your "snit" (say, half the kiddies arrive looking contrite with reading prepared and the others are indifferent), I'm also sure your gut will tell you how to leverage the moment. I've always had to remind myself that even if there are 30 of them and one of me, I'm the authority figure in the room, which counts for something in students' subconscious minds -- they expect and need me to object when they slack off. For what it's worth, knowing that fact has been helpful when I've had to get all hard-assed on my students.

I think that was my first pep talk for you (I hope it was decent).


Anonymous said...

Sock it to them! Lazy shits. And when they ask you "Whaaaaaaaatsonthetessssstttt?" you can shrug your shoulders like they do.

Academic, Hopeful said...

Perfectly reasonable, appropriate behaviour, I say.

--ginger. said...

I find myself saying the phrase, "Actually, I already know how to write" when my students seem uninterested in what we're doing. Snitty, yes. But I do think that the goal is to get better and better at saying thesethings with a smile on our face. It's the smile that will really freak them out. High five for not working harder than they are though.

T30SB said...

I do that same shit right before m review. I blow up at my bos like a week before. I think it has something to do with the upcoming review and pressure to behave myself, which we know is not an easy thing for me to do.