Thursday, March 29, 2012

On the Margin

A student asked me yesterday (while I was handing back papers and such in the few minutes before class) how many grandchildren I have.

That struck me as out of the blue, and vaguely inappropriate. Mostly, weird.

Partly, it's that I don't think of myself as grandparent age, but my grandparents were already grandparents at my age, and it's not at all out of the ordinary to be a grandparent at my age. Still, I don't think of myself that way. Nor do I tend to think of my colleagues that way. So weird.

Partly it's that questions about one's reproductive status seem at least marginally inappropriate in a professional setting. On the other hand, folks who have children do use those children for examples and such, or for chit chat, and I don't think that's inappropriate.

This student is often marginally inappropriate. Stu has relatively little verbal self-control and often seems to talk before zie really thinks.

Stu also tends to want me to chat when I'm handing back papers, though I've told hir that I actually can't both chat and hand back papers. (I can't look at names, walk over to the person, give hir a paper, and then look at the next name and do the same while chatting. I'm sure some people can, but I can't.)


Speaking of verbal self-control: students in one of my classes are doing presentations, and several students just (either with or without raising their hands to start) interrupt to ask a question, often only marginally related. It bothers me when this happens, but I usually answer the question and move on, because the time spent talking about how unhelpful it is to be interrupted would make the interruption way worse (and be seen as mean by the students).

But today I talked a bit about it between presentations. And then someone interrupted the next time anyway.

It's like some students just get an idea and instantly, right this very instant, someone else needs to hear about it and respond! NOW!

It's not all students, of course, or even the majority, but the ones who do it really stand out.

Get offa my lawn! (/old fogey voice off)

1 comment:

  1. !!!!!
    I've had colleagues ask whether I'm expecting any grandchildren any time soon (no), but for a student to ask that just out of the blue is pretty bizarre.