Mindy Shatner’s Little Sister

I think I have Mindy Shatner‘s sister in my class. Not literally, of course, but enough know the God, the Universe, or whatever, is trying to teach me a lesson that began with Mindy a few years back. I really don’t want to repeat this chapter this semester, so I’m ready to learn. Here’s how my day went.

I forgot to go over the essay rough draft requirements that are due next week (per my syllabus). One student asked me about what was needed, and I could have gotten myself out of this by pushing the date forward. I do say that the schedule is subject to change, and that language was added for anything that would push the schedule out of whack (as class schedules are bound to do). Then, this young woman rudely chimed in that the assignment was due and I hadn’t done anything to give them guidance. Perhaps her point was valid, but the way she pushed it forward was out of line.

So, I stuck to the schedule, gave them a general prompt for their narrative essay, and required them to bring five copies to class for the workshop. She interjected out of turn that she didn’t have enough printer paper for that. Well, excuse me. Go abuse the photocopier at your job. That’s what everyone else does.

Then some of the students had side conversations when a young man was trying to ask me a question (which would have benefited other people if they were listening). I asked them to quiet down a couple times before I raised my voice and said, “Excuse me!” I then calmed my voice and said, “Now that I have your attention,” and attempted to answer his question and close class.

Overall, I had a bad day. After taking some time to cool down, I went to the course’s coordinator and talked about the situation. I have until next week to get caught up. I also have this little Miss Shatner situation to deal with. Any sensible student who doesn’t like their teacher early on usually jumps to another class, but she may be here to stay because the class best fits her schedule or whatever.

If anyone truly gets out of line, I have the orange papers and the Student Affairs office number. I always hope I don’t use them.

Thanks for hearing me vent.

2 thoughts on “Mindy Shatner’s Little Sister

  1. Puppy training – you’ve hit this nail on the head with this one, as this particular class is a bunch of young ones. Of course, someone always want to be alpha bitch (and that’s a canine metaphor, BTW).I don’t see this class until next Wednesday, so I can cool down to meet little Miss Shatner and remind her about how to voice concerns. Also, the professor in charge of the type of course I teach told me I can remind the students about the code of conduct (which is in my syllabus and which in turn references the policy in the college’s catalog).Martini’s and wine – just remember to never mix them together.

  2. The horrors of being the one in charge.A friend of mine who teaches in another department told a story at a cocktail party in which several of her students (possibly inbred second cousins of Mindy’s) apparently threw a collective hissy-fit because the class met on Wednesdays, and my friend had no plans to cancel the class on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. (The reason for the hissy-fit was that apparently the student’s mom expected her home on Sunday.)Juliet – my friend – reminded the students that their previous hissy fit involved pushing the midterm back, and so the class was behind schedule, and therefore there would be class the day before T-day, and if the young lady needed to miss class she would have to do so under the attendance policy.And then there were many, many martinis at the cocktail party.I’m not going to say I don’t do the same thing – wanna know how many bottles of wine I went through while dealing with the complaint from my conference attendees?Ultimately, however — and this is so sad — I’ve realized that teaching a class is like being in puppy training class. If you don’t establish yourself as the alpha dog right away, someone else will do it for you.Ask this young lady to remain behind after class and tell her that if she has questions or concerns to come to your office hours — that’s what they’re for. In addition, the amount of paper she has on hand at any given time isn’t your problem–and neither is it an appropriate topic for class discussion. And it’s a rough draft, sweetie. Unclench. (You might not want to call her sweetie.)And keep the martini shaker handy. And vent to your blogger pals who will always tell you you’re right. We’re pretty good that way 😉

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