Monday, October 05, 2009

grow a pair. Or cowgirl up. Or put on your big-girl panties. Or something

I have this one student who is driving me up the wall. This person is a non-traditional student, is very vocal about things, sometimes acts somewhat entitled...but at other times acts like she's not worthy of help.

She's having trouble in my stats class. So she gets all huffy during class and makes all those annoying sounds (you know, "Tsch-ah!" and moaning and groaning and muttering things) during class. And I know, before you ask, that it's NOT a Tourette's issue or anything - I've had her in other classes, she has control, she's just not choosing to use it here.

And it's driving me NUTS.

I have to pay hard attention while teaching lest I write a formula or something wrong on the board. And having an undercurrent of moaning and muttering, 'but what is x-bar again?' and all this sort of low-level noise going on behind me makes me more prone to screw up.

And when I stop and ask if she has a question, she goes, "oh, no, no, don't mind me" and puts on a poor face.


And then she bugs the guy sitting next to her to tell her.

I've given what help I can give. (I even scheduled a class day devoted to re-explaining some of the stuff she seemed to be having trouble with. Guess what, she was not there that day). I'm here in my office ten damn hours a week. She rarely comes in outside of class for help.

I get the sense she's on the verge of giving up. It seems to me that she believed this was going to be easy - she had a previous stats class (but mine is more challenging and people learn more in it; everyone says that) and she claims to be good at math. But it seems like she shuts down in class and gives up at some point.

And yet, at the same time, it's like she has a somewhat inflated concept of her abilities: like, it's my fault she doesn't understand, because, you know, she's really really smart.

And I'm trying my damnedest to explain stuff slowly and as simply as possible and work LOTS of examples and show all the work...and still she gets POd.

And it's getting on my nerves. I don't know what to do. I know she's probably complaining loudly behind my back to other people but I don't really give a crap any more. I'm doing my best. She seems unwilling to stretch that little tiny bit of extra distance (which is really what it seems: if she just stretched a bit more, she'd make it) to learn the stuff.

(It doesn't help that she's unpredictably absent. She's what I call a "multiple problem person" - she has stuff going on in her life, some of it not her fault, that makes her life harder. But still).

I don't know. I don't know what to say to her to get her to shut up without ticking her off or turning her off even more. But I'm really ready to be done with this exchange:

"mmmmumble grumble groan tsch-ah!"

"Do you have a question? Is something here confusing?"

"No, no, don't mind me. I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND."

"What don't you understand? What would you like me to explain again?"


So I keep going, and then she leans over and bugs the guy next to her to find out what x-bar is again. (And other stuff she SHOULD know by now).

Does Chuck Norris rent himself out to come to classes? I'd love to have him sit next to her. Oh, I don't want him to roundhouse kick her or anything; all I'd need would be for him to say, "Could. You. Shut. Up. I. Am. Trying. To. Listen."


The Fifth String said...

Chuck Norris in class? That would be so cool.

WV: "cries"

Hahahaha. No further explanation necessary.

Mr. Bingley said...

How about saying "do you have a question? No? Than you really need to be quit making noise. If you are loud enough that I hear you you are definitely distracting your fellow students.


(well, maybe skip the last part)

Heroditus Huxley said...

Thank God I'm teaching online and staying home with the imp (who just had his first birthday). Chasing after him uses up all of my patience--my students aren't getting much at all this semester, and one like Problem Girl? Yeah, she'd have run out crying by now. And given that my boss is under pretty much constant pressure to fire me, that would probably get it done.

I'm so sorry you have to put up with her.