I was hoping that the lunatics in my life could be confined to the weird old guy who wanders around my neighborhood talking to himself but it looks like the full moon this week is bringing them out in droves…
See, we just finished midterm week at the university where I teach and students are beginning to sign up for second semester. Which seems like a relatively un-lunatic type of task.
Except that this is also the time in which a surprising number of students realize that they won’t get their financial aid checks for second semester if, in fact, they aren’t passing enough classes to actually enroll in more classes second semester.
Which was the case with my latest lunatic encounter.
It happened on Tuesday; this girl stormed into my Comp I class just before it started, as I was putting a few notes for the day on the whiteboard. And it startled me because, at first, I had no idea who she was…because she hasn’t been in my class since the first week of school. She showed up the 3 days in which the financial aid office checks enrollment before issuing first semester checks and has never returned.
I had assumed she was one of those students who signs up for a full load, gets the check from the government, and drops a few classes before the deadline so she can pocket the difference between the tuition and her check.
“I need to pass this class to get my financial aid for next semester!” She said without preamble.
Which means I was wrong…she was one of those students who signs up for a full load, gets the check from the government, and drops a few classes before the deadline so she can pocket the difference between the tuition and her check BUT plans to pass all of the classes she didn’t drop so she can repeat the cycle second semester.
Except, of course, it’s difficult to pass when you never actually show up for class.
A fact I pointed out to her immediately. “You haven’t been here for NINE WEEKS,” I said.
“I had to babysit my friend’s kid,” she agreed.
“For NINE WEEKS?”
And she nodded. “But I’ll do anything,” she said. “Anything at all.”
“Except come to class and actually do the work?” I asked.
But THAT flew right over her head. “So, what can I do to pass?” She asked.
Please keep in mind that, in order for this little scenario to work out in her favor, she would have to have a passing grade by the end of the class period in question. And I think I’m pretty good at my job but I don’t think I’m good enough to reteach an entire half semester in the five minutes before class actually started.
“What can I do?” She asked again.
Since my earlier sarcasm had flown right over her head, I decided against saying “Turn back time” and uncharacteristically went for the direct, logical response. “Nothing,” I said. “You haven’t been here for nine weeks; you haven’t made any effort to contact me and work something out—“
“I couldn’t!” She shouted triumphantly, like she’d been waiting for me to say that exact thing. “See?”
Then she showed me her iPhone—which looked suspiciously brand new except for the fact that the screen was cracked.
And that just irritated me because I was pretty sure she probably bought the phone with her financial aid money…which comes from MY tax dollars…which means, essentially, that was MY new iPhone…and she broke it.
She broke my iPhone!
But I really didn’t have time to get into an argument so I just said “Yah, it looks like it’s had some rough treatment.”
And, oddly, that’s the thing that pissed her off. She shoved the iPhone back in her pocket and shouted “I wasn’t rough with it! I take care of my things!”
Which made me wonder if the screen was really cracked or if there’s some sort of screensaver you can get that makes it look like the screen is cracked or if the friend she was babysitting for gave her a cracked iPhone as payment or if she was just smoking crack or what…
All of which was too much to be thinking about since I was still trying to get ready for class…so, I just turned around and finished putting my notes on the board.
Many people would choose this time to make a silent getaway…of course, many people would realize that missing nine straight weeks of a sixteen week class was a pretty clear path to failure.
Not this girl.
She sat down in the front row and spent the next twenty minutes AGGRESSIVELY participating in the class discussion.
It was bizarre.
I put an essay up on the smartboard and asked the students to identify strengths and weaknesses in it…she began shouting out suggestions and comments like Rainman on speed.
“Good descriptions!” she shouted. “Nice images!”
Except it was a persuasive paper and there really weren’t any descriptions or images in it…which she may have realized if she had been in class AT ALL the past nine weeks.
“Can anyone identify the author’s main logical fallacy?” I asked.
“Order of importance!” She yelled (and no, for you non-Comp teachers, that’s NOT a logical fallacy…it has NOTHING TO DO with logical fallacies).
And so on…until I finally said, “Lana! You need to stop that…just, STOP.”
That’s when, at long last, she stormed out in a huff, slamming the door behind her…
But, honestly, I’m a little afraid I haven’t seen the last of her!
kimbo325 is a teacher and writer who is laughing her way through life. She actually loves her job and loves helping kids learn to write…but she thinks it’s hard to learn when you’re not in class. For more stories from her crazy life, like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ItIsInterestingToNote?ref=hl#!/ItIsInterestingToNote
or follow her on Twitter @kimbo325