Thursday, March 6, 2014

Are You Kidding Me?!

Finally participating in Finish the Sentence Friday again but I should probably start this post was saying that I do love my job. I've been a teacher for over 15 years and now that I'm teaching college instead of high school, I actually love it even more.

But it's midterm time and even though I love my job and most of my students there's just something about this time of year when what I really want to scream out loud is "Are you flipping kidding me?”

(Actually, there's another word I'd like to insert for "flipping" but I am an educator, molding young minds, I should at least pretend to be appropriate).

Anyway, the problem is, this is the make or break point—the time of year a few of the kiddos realize that this isn't high school anymore and that there is a really good possibility that, if they don’t start doing some actual work, they will probably fail.

Some of them decide that means it’s time to get it in gear. Some of them decide to drop. And some of them decide that, perhaps, I’m not too bright and they can continue slacking off but somehow convince me they are dedicated students.

One of my favorites of these conversations was with a girl who told me she was going to miss the midterm test with me the following Friday because she was going to have an emergency appendectomy.

“Wow,” I said. “You know you're going to have an emergency appendectomy on Friday? Two days in advance?

“It's been coming and going,” she agreed. “The doctor said we should just wait and see how it goes.”

Which, call me crazy, doesn’t sound like an emergency appendectomy to me.

“I know it's weird,” she said.

“Borderline unbelievable,” I agreed. “And you know what else is weird? The fact that you have a loud voice, just like I do, and before class I could hear you talking to your friend about going to Oklahoma City this weekend for her 21st birthday.”

She didn't even have the good grace to look embarrassed.

“So,” she said after a long pause. “When can I make the midterm up?”

“The day after never,” I told her. Which I thought was kind of funny (she did NOT agree). But, seriously, are you flipping kidding me with that? Could you at least trying to come up with a plausible story? One that doesn't completely insult my intelligence?

Then just I was ready to throw in the towel and declare our future generation beyond saving one of my best students approached me. He doesn’t have the best grade in the class but he does his work, he turns everything in on time, he pays attention in class, and he really seems to want to learn.

Plus—and I’m not proud of this—he laughs at my jokes.

Not in a suck up, “you’re so hysterical, you’re the funniest woman I've ever heard” way but in a “I totally got that and we have the same sense of humor” way.

If there any students reading this, trust me when I tell you laugh at your teacher’s jokes. It won’t get you an A but it will make her feel better.

In any case, we frequently talk after class because English is his second language and that’s always a struggle in a writing class. Today he stopped and asked me if, even though it wasn't in the scope of our class, would I be kind enough to give him my wise advisements (yes, he actually used those words ‘wise advisements.’) about a scholarship opportunity he'd been sent.

And thank goodness he did because it had scam written all over it.  “You shouldn’t have to pay $8,000 to get scholarship information,” I assured him. “Most of the information is out there, free of charge.  These people are trying to steal your money.”

Then I showed him how to research it on the Internet and check the Better Business Bureau (this group got an F rating, by the way) and so on.

“My father and I worried over this,” he said gratefully. “And he told me to ask a teacher because they would give me the wise advisements.”

And just like that I love my job again.


For other scream out loud posts, please click below:

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

20 comments:

  1. Students, eh? But seriously, I think this is a human condition thing--I've seen it in adults in the workplace too.

    Having read this, though, I now need a t-shirt that says, "I am in need of the wise advisements." Because that would be awesome. And true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've said "wise advisements" to my husband about 15 times since it happened; it's my new favorite phrase!

      Delete
  2. I love your response to that student. I was a teacher, too and never did get over some of the stuff my kids tried to get away with, but then again I taught middle school. So, this was new t hear that a college student tried to pull this over on you. But also glad that your other student saved the day and redeemed it for you so to speak. So happy to see you back and love when you link up with us!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, why didn't I think of the "emergency appendectomy" excuse when I was in college? (Probably because I had too much integrity and common sense!)
    So glad that you were able to offer "wise advisements" and save the other student, and his family, from such a huge loss of money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit, there were times I slacked in college but I never expected my teachers to believe some ridiculous excuse! Still, helping that other kiddo made my day.

      Delete
  4. Just reading the word "midterms" brought me right back to my days as a high school English teacher when the sheer amount of reading and grading I had to do gave me high blood pressure and panic attacks. (Okay maybe not really, but it was DAUNTING.) But then, with your story of the sweet boy who needed your "wise advisements" you gave me that twinge of really missing working with students. Teaching is so bittersweet, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I taught high school English before teaching college and the amount of grading was enough to give me a panic attack--especially when you figure in all the other responsibilities you have to take on! But the sweet ones do make it all worthwhile.

      Delete
  5. Too bad your wise advisements went over the head of your other student. ;) [#FTSF]

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my goodness, I would be offended, too, by such a lazy excuse. I hope you won't be forced to let this girl make up for the missed mid-terms. And I'm glad you enjoy your job, especially because of thoughtful and interested students.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luckily, it says in my syllabus that you can't make up the midterm or final--they get the dates months in advance!

      Delete
  7. EEEP to loving wise advisements. That makes that jerk of a girl who sounds like a ______ even worse. I'm sure it's so hard to see the kids that want to learn, and who care, against those who just want to pass. But, glad you love your job, and that you linked up with us!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Love this link up--always so many interesting posts!

      Delete
  8. It really isn't funny when kids try to think they can fool us, and I'm sure as a teacher, it must drive you crazy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does but I try to convince myself that at least they're learning a life lesson about what not to do!

      Delete
  9. Wow this is really hilarious. That girl must have felt extremely silly. I remember college to be exactly as you are saying it though. Wow, that guy seems so genuine. I'm glad he's in your class!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's a great kid--I'm sure he'll go far in life!

      Delete
  10. I once was on a panel for college bound students. A panelist from another school advised these impressionable high school students that didn't like the grade you're given, just ask your parents to call up the professor and argue for a higher grade. It was our rival school, but it solidified all of the mess we joked about back then. Don't do the work, just ask your parents to step in. And now that my SIL is a teacher, she says parents call her non-stop inquiring about her students grades. It's a sad state of affairs out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That happened to me sometimes when I was teaching high school--it's a little better at the college level. But I always used to wonder what message those parents thought they were sending their kids.

      Delete