Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Being a Jerk

I really try not to.  I do.  But today, I failed a bit.

I didn't go out and beat people up or anything, but still, I could have done better.  But I was too tempted.

We were going over the syllabus, and I'd just talked about a sort of short assignment, multiple repetitions.  So think, a typed journal once a week assignment, but shorter.  Still, you get the idea.

And a student asked, "So we just write it on a piece of paper?"

And dog help me (because I couldn't help myself), I said, "As opposed to, what, turning it in by ESP?"

Which, I still think is funny, sort of, in that desperate English professor way.  But it didn't really treat the student nicely.

(In my defense, I think the student was wanting to hear, yes, just write it on a piece of paper during class and turn it in late, because it's not that important to me.  And I really do not want it written in class while other things are supposed to be happening.)

But still, I shouldn't make it about my defense, right?

So, I'm a bit cranky at myself because I didn't handle that as well as I could have.  (And no, it's probably not something to beat oneself up about, but I do try to treat students reasonably well.)

On another note, I've now taught the first class for each of my courses this semester, and they all went well enough.

In Chaucer, we spent less time on the syllabus than usual.  I had them do some freewriting (about what it means to make art from violence, and to consume art made from violence, which is something I want the students to think about, especially as we get into some of the tales).  And then we read "Adam Scriveyn" aloud, me first, then them, and talked a little about the final couplet (and how it imagines the violence).

Chaucer and Shakespeare in the same semester.  It's hard to get any better than that for me.


  1. Okay - so sorry, but I laughed at your ESP comment. I know that it was jerky to say it. But sometimes students are jerks for not understanding just the most basic freaking concepts. Hopefully that will all pass soon enough and you can get to the meat of the fun.

    Chaucer and Shakespeare in one semester does sound fun! I'm definitely enjoying having two Shakespeare classes. It's a lot of work, but the awesome kind.

  2. Sounds like a fun class. That ESP comment was priceless. Even so, though, I think I'd apologize to the student for the remark. That's one of many reasons I love teaching online - never have to bite my tongue to keep words back!!

  3. I have a friend and colleague who can say stuff like that and leave the students wanting more. It's like, "Thank you, Sir, may I have another?" He has a great sense of humor and perfect delivery. He's a cool, friendly, smart-ass who gets to say exactly what he thinks because he says it just right. I am so jealous.

    I have tried saying things like he says, and I come across as a jerk.

  4. Oh and also, I really like your free-writing topic!

  5. I like your topic, too, and this did make me laugh (though I can see your point about it being taken wrong).

  6. Laughing too. If that's the jerkiest you can be, I think you're doing OK.