Monday, October 22, 2012

The Puzzling Mid-Term

Last week was a blur. Mid-terms, put together a workshop (coming off attending a conference on Saturday), worked like a madwoman - even went back to work one night, went to Disneyland on Saturday, and by Sunday, I was practically comatose, I was so mentally and physically exhausted.

Out of all that, the topic I've most wanted to blog about was what happened at my first mid-term last week.

Basically, a woman of a certain age threw an incredibly immature fit in class and accused our teacher of things she in no way deserved. And all before we had our class lecture that happened before the mid-term.

One day, after all my classes are done and I have my certificate, I would love to sit down with her and find out how the students have changed in the past two decades, or even, if they have. I would love to know if the challenges of teaching have changed, if her students are more or less prepared than they were 20 years ago.

The whole event would have astonished me less if the woman was closer to the age of a high school graduate. I don't know exactly how old she is, but she certainly looks older than me...and I'm almost 40. So neither of us could be accused of being young or inexperienced.

This class isn't an easy A, by any means. You do have to work at it. You do have to be prepared. And the teacher does express some annoyance if someone asks the very same question she just answered. Even I had to laugh when yet a 3rd person asked the same question!

But even that wasn't what set this classmate off. No, she decided to throw a fit because she was marked down half a point for something that, if I had done it at work, my bosses would've looked at me impatiently, and asked "Really, April?" It was a standard formatting issue that should only be an issue for someone working with a typewriter on Mad Men!

And I only know what the issue is because the woman decided to be loud enough so that everyone in the room could hear. The teacher tried to take it outside and make it a private conversation, and the woman yelled, "no! You're mean! You're abusive!"

I almost laughed at the absurdity at the remark, except I was also pretty incensed that she would throw that word around.

I have had my share of bad teachers. I have had my share of bad bosses. This teacher in no way fits that bill.

And, frankly, I can't get past how clueless she is as to what "mean" or "abusive" really means. And I'm just a touch jealous that she's managed to live this long with her rose-colored glasses still intact.

I kept my eyes down, and my fury under control at least enough so that I wouldn't burst.  She continued her tirade for an uncomfortable length of time until finally, thankfully, another classmate spoke up and soon shut this woman down.

But I still felt bad for our teacher, who was clearly flustered as she started her lecture. And I think all of us were off our game a bit, thanks to the events.

I know a few people in the class agreed with this woman, but I notice they're the same ones who talk during the lecture, who ask questions that have just been answered, and who failed the first quiz.

Personally, I'm not as good a student as I was when I was younger. I have to work harder this time around, my memory is shakier, and I'm juggling more than I ever have before. Still, I perform well in my classes, and I know I deserve every A and B I've received. Sure, some teachers are harder than others, but once you know how they grade, once you've taken one test, you get an idea of how they test, and what to study. And yes, this teacher definitely tests us on everything she's taught!

I'm not sure what I'm missing about her that makes others see her as mean or abusive...but in this case, I'll be grateful for that particular ignorance!


Missy June said...

I think some people have never had to WORK for anything in their lives! They don't know the satisfaction found in being required to do it well, and do it right.

I imagine classes would be more difficult in this season of goodness, my mind is already so full of so many other responsibilties!

Good for you!

Tara R. said...

Wow... I can't imagine someone acting like that. I feel bad for your instructor.