September 10, 2004

Truly Amazing

A truly amazing thing happened yesterday. A student came to my office door, actually read what was on the door, which said that I was not available and that forms for signing should be left in the envelope taped to the door. And then he/she actually left the form in the envelope WITHOUT knocking on my door and distburbing me! A student who could read, and could be polite! Amazing!

Most students around here don't read the information on my door that I've put in front of their noses especially for them to read. Instead, they decide that they are too important to read the information or to abide by it, and that even though I'm unavailable, they are going to bother me anyway. If I tell them verbally the exact same thing as what it says on my door, politely, that I am busy and to leave the form in the envelope, they decide they are going to ignore what I say and bother me further, and this can repeat a few times until I lose patience and snap at them, and THEN magically they are capable of understanding what I am saying and grasping that yes, I really do mean it. I have a lot of teaching preparations to do before teaching starts, for the benefit of students, and constant interruptions make this process very slow indeed.

I resent being forced to choose between the roles of either DoorMat Lecturer, to be bothered at the whim of every passing student, or Rude Lecturer, and no there isn't a feasible way of avoiding that.

What I also resent is the way the actions of a minority of students colour the way we look at students in general. The good students, the ones who show up, do the work, hand in their work on time, who ask you questions within the lab sessions rather than demanding your attention at other times, those good students simply don't show up on the radar. Almost all the students you notice show up because they are causing trouble of some kind. So yes, my first paragraph is sarcastic, it's not really unusual that one of them actually followed instructions, but gee, most of the time it really feels like it.


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