The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Posted by Seeking Solace |

Only one student out of eight showed up for my 8:30 AM Critical Thinking class. This always happens when an assignment is due. I asked the lone student if she had an essay to turn in.

Student: I don't have an essay done.

SS: Well, it is not due until the end of class, so you have an hour and 15 minutes to put something down on paper.

Student: I am not going to turn one in.

SS: You have only turned in one assignment all semester. You realize that you are going to fail my class, don't you?

Student: I don't care. I am just here to get credit for attendance. My advisor said that as long as I keep attending class, I will get a grade. If I stop attending, I will get a withdrawal with failure and I will be responsible for the student loan debt in a few months.

Side note: At my college, we actually have to take attendance. Students have to sign in on an attendance sheet. They can sign in whenever they want, so long as it is during the scheduled class time. Sometimes students come to class, sign in and leave. Others walk in with two minutes left and sign in. In either case, they are considered present. Furthermore, a student receives a withdrawal with failure if they miss a certain number of classes.

And now, back to our story.

Student: I hate this school anyway. The teachers don't know nothing I am going to transfer to Public Community College.

SS: How so? (This should be interesting)

Student: Why do I have to study Critical Thinking? How is that going to help me start a business? I don't need no one telling me how to think. I am a thinking person. Plus, I don't like how you teachers make me write stuff. All my teachers want me to write stuff.

SS: Well, if you were paying attention throughout the course of the semester, critical thinking is also about problem solving. In business, you will confront with many different issues and problems that require problem solving skills...

Student (interrupting): That don't make no sense. Why can't they just tell what I need to do to start a business? At my last school, they took us on field trips and stuff. This stuff ain't helping me. These classes are boring. Nobody wants to help me.

SS: Well, why haven't you sought help, if you are having problems?

Student: Why should I? They should have taught it to me the first time. I just decided not to do the work anymore.

SS (getting very annoyed): And whose fault is that?

Student: I don't think I have a problem. The teachers here don't know how to teach.

WTF!!!!!!! And this girl got her education degree from...(and no, the one that she found at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box does not count!) It took every ounce of strength for me not to bitch slap this little witch. I was so pissed off at her that I told her that there was no use in her staying for the rest of the class. So, she signed the attendance sheet and left. I really wanted to tell her to not let the door hit her in ass on the way out.

I am still burning about this one. Some of it has to do with the audacity of this girl to suggest that she knew better, but mostly it is because of how the students view the faculty. We have no power or authority in the classroom. The students know this. Even if I wanted to kick this girl out, I can't. The HMFICs would tell me not to let the door hit me in the ass.

Somebody save me!!!!!!!!

PS: Today is the 25th aniversery of the death of John Lennon. RIP.


Astroprof said...

@#&%*! How could you stand that! I think that by the end of that conversation I'd be saying something that I might later regret. Oh, and unless this is a different student loan program from the ones that I had, she would still need to pass at least half of her classes.
It is students like this that sometimes make me wonder if I am doing any good at all. Fortunately, I have some really good ones each semester that do seem to really want to learn. They make it all worthwhile.

Seeking Solace said...

It took every once of strength not to cuss her out. I soooo wanted to.

I often wonder if it is all worth it. I am seriously considering looking for another job. But I don't know if it will be any different.

Gurustu said...

Success has no excuses. It sounds to me like all she has are excuses... so as a result, she's setting herself up to fail. That'll be a shame... especially when she continues to blame others and refuses to take responsibility for her own destiny.

It gives you good reason to stayed focused on your own life.

blithering moron said...

At least she showed up. Well, for a few minutes at least.

Do you have to stay in the classroom even if no students are there?

Hope said...

Wow. That's all I have to say. Wow.

Astroprof said...

S.S., there are nicer places to teach. I am at one of them, and I am so very thankful to be here. I've been other places where so much of what the rest of y'all face was the norm. Around here, the students are largely nicer than average, the faculty are nicer than average, and the administrators are far more supportive than average. So, there is hope. We even offer some pre-law and legal assistant courses! So, perhaps there is some place similar nearer to you.

Kiss My Mike said...

I wasn't a big fan of attendance system myself. As you have said, some of the students are only up for signing the attendance sheet and then gone after a few minutes.

A lot of people do not realize the value of education. They don't realize how lucky they are to have the privilege to study. There are places in the world where people are so poor they can't even afford to study.

I also think Education is a long and continuous process. The problem is we are so used to getting almost everything instantly, so we sometimes are impatient and want everything to be at hand instantly.

Seeking Solace said...

Blithering Moron: Yes, I have to stay, because God forbid I am gone and someone shows up to sign in and leave! So, I always bring some work with me.

Gurustu: It's so hard not to take it personally, but I try to let it go once I get home.

Astroprof: Thanks for the tip. Husband and I have talked about moving, mostly because of my health, crappy weather and the high taxes in my state. But Husband has a great job and relocation is difficult.

RussianViolets said...

SS, that is just ridiculous!!! I've never seen anything like it -- even with my worst specimens of stupidity. Poor you, and I give you so much credit for maintaining your control. I would definitely have lost it. :-)

academic coach said...

It must be hard to prepare classes if this is what your students are like. Not much chance for critical thinking when there is so little thinking taking place.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Astroprof that you should look for another place to teach. I teach at a place that is nothing like what you describe. The students are respectful and the department backs us up when there are discplinary problems.

P. G. said...


Plus, I don't like how you teachers make me write stuff. All my teachers want me to write stuff.

This is COLLEGE?!

Brian W. Ogilvie said...


That's the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

If she has taken business courses and has never heard of a business plan, maybe she has a point about some of the teachers...but possibly she just wasn't paying attention. (I'm being charitable by writing "possibly.")