Friday, January 20, 2012

And so, it begins.

I have a research project in one of my classes. To maximize the chances of student success, I require (first) a paragraph or so giving the hypothesis/question they want to use, and then, after I approve that, I have them write a proposal with methods, etc.

It's a giant pile of work for me but I think it's valuable, at least for some of the students.

Well, the ideas were due today. And one dude comes up and says, "Uh, I'm not from around here..." And I'm thinking, this is a lead in to, "I left my paper at home."

But no. It's "I knew some of the plants and insects and stuff in [state that is actually not very far from where we are now], but I don't know the stuff here, so I couldn't come up with an idea."

And I just looked at him in dismay.

He's known about this for over a week. He hung around a long time in lab this week and he could have asked me about it. But nooooooo, he waits until the due date and then brings up some excuse as to "I don't know what to do because" when he could have VERY EASILY rectified that by talking to me. (He also came to my office to talk to me about other stuff this week).

I'm afraid this is going to be my "makes me tear out my hair" person this semester. He has a reputation: he took, I think, four tries to pass the prerequisite for the course I teach. (He has some learning disabilities, but he gets many accommodations). He has a habit of just randomly talking in class which creeps me out - I recognize that it may be related to one of his disabilities but still, it's hard for me to talk about some complex topic when someone is talking about birds or other unrelated stuff. (And yes, I've mentioned it to him. Apparently he has a hard time controlling it. And I know, it feels very churlish of me to be complaining, but having a constant undertone of someone muttering sets off several of my internal "alarms," I think because I once knew someone who muttered a lot before BIG GIANT UNPREDICTABLE ANGRY OUTBURST)

Also, several of my colleagues suspect the individual of having a substance-abuse problem; he's seemed a bit unfocused at times and occasionally smells of alcohol. (Or so they've told me).

Look, I get being a little avoidant. I'm a little avoidant myself. But waiting until the day something is due and then throwing up a reason why you're clueless when you could have come in and talked about it - when you've shown you're already not afraid to come in and talk to the prof? Just irritates me.

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