NYPD is staking out my block. Not very inconspicuously I might add. Yesterday they parked across the street in their white armored truck that says "POLICE" in bold letters on the sides. Tonight they have parked themselves in front of my house. I can look down from my 4th floor window and see into the front seat. Our friendly gentleman dealers have disappeared from their sidewalk. Wait, they aren't gentleman! I just remembered the pleasure I had one day of looking out the window to see one old man pee into the grass. In broad daylight.
Which reminds me, I had a particularly nasty day in the classroom this afternoon. I really can't believe the rude, impertinent, presumptuous, and disgusting behavior of so many of the students. This has been a colorful week for them too. Probably because I have implemented my "Goal #1 is to make my life easier" plan. I told them the final paper is optional. I pray none of them do it so I can have a nice Christmas. I wear jeans now because they don't respect my authority anyway so I might as well be comfortable. I also used classtime to grade their exams while they did group work. I'm not proud of it, but I'm not pleased with spending 15 or so hours of my own time unpaid to grade the dang midterm essay exams the school tells me I'm required to give. I was up from 2 am to 10 am last night grading and even though 1/3 were already done before that, I still didn't finish.
My plan is working insofar as I am now somewhat relaxed. I'm not surprised that their insults have increased in proportion to my relaxation level. Here are some choice excerpts from this week:
Tuesday I told the night class I didn't have their exams graded yet. One woman asked, as if utterly disgusted with me, "WHAT do you DO all day?" I responded by looking her in the face and saying "I'm a PhD student. Full time." Thankfully that shut her up since she's one of the polite ones.
In a discussion about the problem of knowledge and evidence I brought up WMDs. The middle aged fireman groans, "Oh here we go again." I have only mentioned that issue once before. And I do not express my own opinions on anything in the classroom so I've never said anything bad about Bush except that he, like every other politician, uses logical fallacies to sway the public and I gave them some examples. That's all. So his obnoxious remark was completely uncalled for and was especially grating since he has been nothing but condescending the entire semester. He sits in class with his arms crossed and smirks at me. He often rolls his eyes. And of course makes smartmouth comments like "I'd like to see how you get out of that one"--after he asks me a question and then laughs like he's tricked me. Buddy, I'm smarter than you are. I know that's hard to believe because I'm a little girl and I'm in a position of authority over you, it's just too bad your ego just can't handle that fact.
And the best was from the boy who sits in the back row thinking he is Mr Playa All That and A Bag of Chips! Today he did what no one in any of the 17 classes I have taught has ever done.
I asked the class what they would say if I held a gun to their head and demanded they tell me everything they know, threatening to shoot them if anything they say is false. They made a few attempts and I showed them how all their claims lacked certainty. As they sat in their skeptic stupor, he shouted out "I know that I am a sex machine." The class laughed. I said, "How do you know that?" Class laughed. He said, "Do you want to find out?" I laughed. Then said, "No. I don't. Thank you." Class mocked him.
Now I ask you, where does one learn that it's ok to insultingly proposition your teacher during class? I can understand if the prof sets up the dynamic that way and often makes sex jokes herself. But I'm not fool enough to encourage the horny buggers.
And then, the princess topped them all. She is an alpha-girl fresh from high school. She's collected a group of fans with whom she has loud conversations during my lectures and can be counted on for some rude display each class. Today as I sat grading their exams she came up and asked me why I'm not teaching anymore. "Is there something wrong? Like some kind of psychology thing? Is it because you've misunderstood the students?..." She only feigned concern. Her eyes laughed at me.
Because I had only 2 hours of sleep I answered her. I said I was tired so we were taking a break. She began to tell me that she's sure other professors are tired too so shouldn't I... my dirty look cut her off. I told her I'd be lecturing Descartes on Tuesday. Then she said, "Well, why don't you try mixing it up a little. And you know, do something like..." At that I laughed in shock, then gave her my most evil stare. I told her that if she wanted to talk to me she could see me during office hours because I was done talking to her now.
So, in what possible universe is it ok to accuse your professor of having problems then proceed to advise her on how to teach? I suspect she called some dean to tell on me. She used her cell phone shortly after and her side-kick blushed when she saw me watching them. It's happened before.
Good thing I decided not to care about this job anymore. Otherwise I might really be upset by that. The deputy chair in my department wants to see me. Probably to talk about my crappy observation report and to explain why they took away my 3rd class. Good times. I was going to tell them I didn't want a third class but I figured they would take it away so I didn't bother. Do I really have to go listen to advice on how to improve my teaching? I started out as a good teacher and now I suck. That shows that I know what to do but I'm not doing it. Might it have something to do with the students?