Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Secret messages to students and colleagues

  • To Casual Student: Did you know that you could have an A in this class if you exerted some effort? You're smart, you do the reading, and you're a good writer, but it's as though you don't want to put forth any effort beyond what's absolutely required. Why didn't you revise when you were given the chance? Why didn't you turn in Minor Homework Assignment? This doesn't make me angry, because I like you and think you're an asset to the class, but it does make me a little sad. Not everyone has the brains and aptitude that you do. I wish you would make more use of them.
  • To Participating Student: Your in-class discussion skills are great, as are your ideas. Please, please come by the office before you turn in your paper or take it to the Writing Center so that the writing doesn't sabotage what should be a good piece of work.
  • To Vanishing Student: You were a good writer, and you could analyze materials well, but somehow you never connected with the class, did you? You stopped coming to class, and then, when I contacted you about absences, you dropped the class. That's too bad, but it's better than staying if you're not engaged with what we're doing, I guess.
  • To Colleague: I'd like to send you a valentine for the support you've given--really.
  • To Another Person in the Department: Is it a coincidence that whenever I am called upon to tell you something that you don't want to hear from a position of authority that I hold, you never respond but immediately contact the (male) person in authority over me? Coincidence? Sure it is.

3 comments:

annieem said...

To Brilliant but Flaky Student: Sigh. Once again you came to class without your draft essay for work shopping. Writer’s block hits again. And you sat there at your desk, with your head in your arms looking like the saddest person on earth. However, I’ve finally learned not to engage you with my usual probing questions to get you to talk about your ideas, and then beg you to quickly jot them down. I tried that in the past, and got caught up in your brilliant but scattered analysis of your topic mixed in with your pleas for empathy. I didn’t want to hear again that you spent 20 hours drafting the 1200 word essay yet threw it all away as garbage. I didn’t want to hear you go on and on, brilliant ideas juxtaposed with pitiful pleas, while other students (those who had barely typed up their ideas an hour before class, and those who had probably spent 20 hours on their 3000 word masterpieces) glared at you as they responded to each other’s essays. But, alas, you went through our little drama despite my lack of eye contact. Dear Brilliant but Flaky Student: if only you had a muse who would follow you around all day and write up your brilliant observations, minus the whining: What a joy this class would have been today.

Bardiac said...

Dear Colleague,

Patriarchy sucks. Stop being a dink.

Yours in feminism, B

undine said...

Annieem, BBFS could wear anyone out, especially her classmates. It's too bad there isn't an assistant to do what you suggested, or, better still, if she had a tape recorder, she could hear herself and learn to do a little (or a lot) of self-editing.

Bardiac, that's it exactly! Now to run it through the professionalese translator . . .