A couple of days ago, I made the mistake (again) of looking myself up on a professor rating site (you know the one). And I found this new comment:
"So, I am not a chauvinist in any way, but having spent an entire semester listening to the arguments of a militant feminist (who, by her own admission, wants to "control and repress" her husband) has put a small damper on my ability to see eye to eye with the general feminist movement. *sigh* I wish I was joking about this, too."
I was surprised when I first read this, and then I became alarmed--not by the claim that I am a militant feminist, but rather by the fact that I had clearly had not done a very good job of teaching this student to understand irony. I mean, Dude (or Dudette)! Seriously? You took me seriously? Of course, I don't want to control my husband. Yes, from time to time I do attempt to micromanage him, but I'm not asserting general control. And repressing him? Bah! Hardly.
Anyhoo, the day after I read this, a student from the same class came up to me, shook my hand, and said something like, "I just want to tell you that I really enjoyed this class. A lot of my female teachers have been feminazis, so this class was really refreshing."
Hmmm. How am I to interpret these drastically different readings of the same course (which was a Brit Lit survey)? I'd like to think that these two opposite reactions suggest that I've found a good balance, but I don't think that would be an accurate assessment. Somehow, both comments leave me feeling unsettled.