Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Trying to love them.

Mostly, I like my students. (I particularly like my soil science class this semester; they're all pleasant and responsible people. I could probably set up the lab, unlock the door, and let them have at it without my having to be there...and I'd come back to find they'd successfully completed the lab AND cleaned everything up - in fact, left the lab cleaner than it was when they walked in.)

But I have three students...well, that I probably need an attitude adjustment about (this comes because my women's Bible group last night wound up discussing how we are called to love the unloveable).

Person #1: wrote "joke" answers on the first exam. One "joke" answer I can roll with, sometimes it even makes me laugh. (I wrote, "Nice try but no points" next to his first one). But as I went on, I got the distinct feeling that (a) this person isn't taking this class seriously and (b) he put in some of these answers on the assumption that I wasn't going to READ the exam, just skim and give points for filled-in places. Which irritates me, because that means he assumes I'm not doing my job. (This is someone I've had in class before and he does seem like someone who doesn't take his education as seriously as he could).

Person #2: I actually have an easier time with this person because I understand there are extenuating circumstances. This is someone with multiple learning disabilities (and because of HIPAA, I can't know what they are). They lack "filters" and tend to blurt stuff in class, which makes me tense up and makes class uncomfortable. But they're also one of those bad-luck bears: they've been out sick or injured (apparently this person was in a car wreck last week) quite a bit, and they huffily* told me when I suggested they needed to get over to Disability Concerns and take the test I had dropped off that, "The dean told me I had a week to get everything made up." Interesting, the dean didn't bother to inform the student's professors....Also, this is someone that several faculty strongly suspect has a substance-abuse problem, and I'm coming to see how they see that, and wonder myself. (I just really hope this person can pass my class on the first go, so I'm not dealing with them for multiple semesters). The sad thing is, this is someone who plans to be a neurobiologist/neurosurgeon...and I just don't think they have the ability. They can't focus for very long at a time....

(*I suppose it could be that they're autism-spectrum and I'm interpreting brusqueness that some autism-spectrum people have as "huffiness.")

#3 is the one I have the hardest time with. This is someone who is/believes himself to be very popular: he's in a frat (I think he's even an officer). He wears ironic sideburns. And he's a jerk to me and the other students in class. I've had to speak to him twice (in what, four weeks of class?) about him talking loudly and out of turn in class. And he comes unprepared and then gets upset when he gets 'called' on it, as if "Because I'm in a frat and I'm Mr. Cool, I shouldn't have to do this stuff." He earned a 69 on his first exam and proceeded during the rest of class to crack jokes about "69." Dude, I know what that number represents in the sexual realm. But let me tell you, in the grading realm, in this class? It means that you will need to repeat the class unless you do much better. (I try to have a sense of humor, but there are some things I just can't have a sense of humor about very much.) (I will say if he needs to repeat the class? I will not be teaching this particular class in the fall so I won't have to deal with him. I guess I can take comfort in that.)

So, I realize we're called to pray for our "enemies" (and I don't really regard these as "enemies," just as people I let get under my skin). So I guess I need to try to pray for these people. (And not necessarily pray, "Please let Person #3 not be a jerk today")

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